The Malta Independent 17 November 2018, Saturday

Minister Abela reaffirms Malta’s willingness to serve as bridge-builder in Middle East

Tuesday, 28 August 2018, 10:11 Last update: about 4 months ago

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Carmelo Abela reaffirmed Malta’s willingness to serve as a bridge-builder between the Israelis and the Palestinians, recalling the excellent bilateral relations that the country enjoys with both.

“We made our offer to both sides that, if they feel and agree that Malta can serve as an opportunity to restart the peace process, we are available to both Israel and Palestine to do whatever it takes”, Minister Abela told a joint press conference at the end of bilateral talks with his Palestinian counterpart, Riad Malki, in Valletta.

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Stating that Malta will continue to support conditions conducive to a political horizon for the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Minister Abela expressed Malta’s belief that the European Union and the United Sates should collaborate and move forward with a common mission.

On Maltese-Palestinian relations, the Minister remarked that they are stronger than ever, not only on the political level but also on the trade, culture, and people-to-people levels. “We consider that the many visits in recent years, at various levels of delegations, serve as an affirmation of our strong relations, and we are expectant that these will only go from strength to strength”, he said.

During the bilateral talks, Minister Abela mentioned Malta’s financial contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). During his visit to the Jalazoon refugee camp in the West Bank last June, Minister Abela pledged a further Maltese contribution to this agency. By giving assistance that is channelled towards the provision of educational and health services to the Palestinians, Malta is investing in their future.

The granting of scholarships to Palestinian students in Malta also featured in the two ministers’ discussions. By investing in the future of young Palestinians through such capacity-building processes, Malta is contributing tangibly to the empowerment of the Palestinian people.

On the political front, the Minister for Foreign Affairs pointed out that, through the memoranda of understanding signed and the political consultations held, Malta and Palestine will have good opportunities to address issues of mutual interest, to further consolidate their strong bilateral relations and collaboration, and to explore opportunities for the mutual benefit of their peoples.

Trade opportunities were also discussed, especially in the agriculture and tourism fields. So was bilateral cooperation on sports and culture that, although already thriving, could be increased and further promoted.

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