The Malta Independent 17 February 2020, Monday

Ireland and Malta to probe closer ties on defence matters

Friday, 20 January 2017, 12:18 Last update: about 4 years ago

Paul Kehoe, Irish Minister with responsibility for Defence, and Carmelo Abela, Malta’s Minister for Home Affairs and National Security, have agreed that officials from both countries would consider enhancing current areas of cooperation, particularly in the area of military training, and explore other opportunities to work together on matters of shared interest. The understanding was reached during bilateral talks held at McKee Barracks in Dublin on Wednesday 18th January 2017.

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Malta and Ireland enjoy good, long-standing defence cooperation, with regular contact at European Union level, a Department of Information statement said. Armed Forces of Malta personnel receive regular training at Irish military institutions, and Malta also cooperates with Ireland in humanitarian search and rescue operations coordinated by Italy in the Central Mediterranean. Furthermore, Ireland has a few months ago donated offshore patrol vessel LÉ Aoife, now renamed P62, to the AFM.

“Ireland and Malta share geo-political considerations in their military and security posture,” Minister Abela said. “In particular, they are both keen on ensuring respect for their national status as neutral countries, as well as stability in the Mediterranean. Our two countries can certainly benefit from closer ties on defence matters. We are grateful for Ireland’s consistent support, and look forward to greater collaboration in the months and years ahead.”

Another major issue on the meeting’s agenda concerned security-related challenges that the EU will continue facing during Malta’s Presidency of the Council. Both ministers agreed, inter alia, on the need to tackle, without further delay, issues that are preventing efficient data-sharing between EU Member States in their bid to fight terrorism and cross-border organised crime.

“EU Member States need to have the will power to transform recent setbacks into positive outcomes, whilst retaining their fundamental values. During its intense and testing Presidency, Malta is certainly adopting this approach,” Minister Abela said.

During a working dinner following the bilateral meeting, Ministers Abela and Kehoe were joined by Frances Fitzgerald, Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Justice and Equality.

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