The Malta Independent 20 January 2022, Thursday

Malta pushing for OSCE Special Representative to the Mediterranean

Friday, 8 December 2017, 15:07 Last update: about 5 years ago

 In the light of its firm belief that there can be no security in Europe without security in the Mediterranean, Malta has reiterated the need for the appointment of an OSCE Special Representative for the Mediterranean, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Carmelo Abela told the 24th annual OSCE Ministerial Council meeting in Vienna on Thursday.

The Special Representative would ensure that what was agreed upon in Helsinki in 1975 and in Astana in 2010 is translated into action in its most tangible form.

 The OSCE Ministerial Council Meeting, which brings together the foreign ministers of all 57 OSCE participating states to take stock of the organisation's work while agreeing on its mandate for the following year, convened on 7 and 8 December.

 "Our proposal rests on our conviction that the OSCE security dimension should be focused on a unified region," said Minister Abela. "Diverse security threats affect all participating states as well as our Mediterranean partners. Building confidence and commitment towards regional security is the way forward. Indeed, this could prove to be the spark to retract the current wave of scepticism, which is clearly perceivable across the entire OSCE spectrum."

 Minister Abela also called on participating states to look beyond their individual interests to include the common security threats of the whole OSCE region. From this perspective, he regretted that the OSCE participating states are still not bound by a concise and common agreement on how to address the issue of migration, while once again highlighting that engaging with Mediterranean partners even more proactively is a must.

Referring to the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Mandate of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, the Foreign Minister said that Malta proactively supports this mandate and will continue to work closely with the representative, who recently noted the sharp increase in cases of intimidation and harassment of female journalists. In over 90 per cent of cases of violence against journalists in the OSCE region, the perpetrators and masterminds have yet to be brought to justice. The Minister reminded his OSCE counterparts that, following the assassination of Maltese blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia, the Government of Malta had stated its commitment to leave no stone unturned in the effort to solve the case of this gruesome killing. He reported that, following weeks of diligent work, ten people were arrested last Monday in connection with the case, and on Tuesday three were charged in court.

On the sidelines of the Ministerial Council, Minister Abela held a bilateral meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov. Discussions focused on issues of mutual interest, with the two countries expressing their determination to continue building on 50 years of excellent bilateral relations.

Minister Abela also had a brief exchange of views with the United States' Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in which they focused on issues related to security in the Mediterranean, including the situation in Libya.

Another bilateral meeting was held with Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandyan, with whom he signed a bilateral Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Culture. He remarked that the Maltese Government is pleased to note the recent growth in cultural relations between the two countries and expressed his conviction that this agreement will continue to enhance bilateral relations. 

 "It is our duty to ensure that the arts are not the property of the few" said Minister Abela. "They belong to us all. Everybody should have the possibility to develop creativity and to expand horizons. Culture is essential in creating lasting partnerships with neighbours and beyond."


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