The Malta Independent 19 January 2020, Sunday

Malta stresses importance of dialogue between Iran and international community

Kevin Schembri Orland Thursday, 9 January 2020, 09:47 Last update: about 9 days ago

Malta has always supported the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran and underscores the importance of dialogue and maintaining a channel of communication between Iran and the international community, a spokesperson for the Ministry for Foreign Affairs told The Malta Independent.

The USA killed a Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, whose death last week in an American drone strike near Baghdad prompted angry calls to avenge his slaying. Since then, Iran struck back by launching a series of ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq housing American troops in a major escalation between the two longtime foes. President Donald Trump says the American people should be “extremely grateful and happy” that no Americans were harmed.

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The Malta Independent sent a number of questions to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, including to state Malta’s position on the situation; to state what the Maltese government thinks of the USA’s killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani; whether the Maltese government identified if there are any Maltese people in Iran and if yes whether contact with them has been made and what precautions are in place, whether Malta has been in contact with US or Iranian representatives and whether the EU is holding any discussions about the situation, among other things.

In response, the representative said: “Malta has always supported the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran and underscores the importance of dialogue and maintaining a channel of communication between Iran and the international community.  The JCPOA contains the mechanisms for the monitoring and regulation of Iran’s nuclear capabilities and within its framework can also sanction any action that contravenes the JCPOA.  It is therefore logically that unilateral action goes against the spirit of dialogue and undermines the JCPOA and what it is meant to achieve.  At the same time, seeing the number of IAEA reports which confirm that Iran is not acting entirely within the confines of the JCPOA, Malta urges Iran to remedy this situation and return to the required standards as agreed under the Action Plan.”

“High Representative/Vice-President (HRVP) Josep Borrell Fontelles has already tweeted earlier on Monday that he is calling for an extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council Meeting in Brussels this Friday afternoon to discuss the situation in Iran and in the wider Middle East.  Over the weekend, HRVP Borrell spoke to Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General, about these developments and about the importance to maintain a multilateral rules-based order as opposed unilateral action.  Borrell also spoke to Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, underlining the need for de-escalation of tensions, to exercise restraint, to avoid further escalation, while highlighting the importance of preserving JCPOA, which remains crucial for global security.  Malta continues to follow and support actions taken by the EU HRVP in the context of these unfolding events.”

In terms of travel to Iran, "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion wishes to advise that Maltese nationals travelling in the country should exercise a high degree of caution and keep up to date with developments.

"In addition, all travellers should continue to avoid all travel within 100km of the entire Iran/Afghanistan border, within 10km of the entire Iran/Iraq border, the province of Sistan-Baluchistan, which borders Pakistan, and to within 20 km of the border with Afghanistan, the area between Bam and Jask, and the waters adjacent to the islands of the Grande and Piccola Tunb and Abu Musa, whose sovereignty is the subject of litigation with the United Arab Emirates.

In terms of travel to Iraq, "due to a very volatile, dangerous and unpredictable security situation, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion advises against all travel to Iraq."

Further travel advice can be found here.

 

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