The Malta Independent 24 October 2021, Sunday

Maltese diplomacy

Alfred Sant MEP Thursday, 23 September 2021, 07:47 Last update: about 1 month ago

Before the sixtieth anniversary of Malta’s Independence arrives, it would make sense to commission a history of Malta’s diplomatic record over the years since that date. It would need to cover the major political choices in foreign affairs and how they developed within the different political formations, as well as due to the urgings of movements forming part of what we have been lately considering as “civil society”.

It would need to cover how the bureaucracy that implemented Maltese diplomacy was established, reconstituted and run – including how it learnt to adapt diplomatic techniques to Maltese needs. Moreover, such a history would need to analyze the response of other countries to Maltese diplomatic moves: when and how were wins recorded, defeats registered?

A history written along these lines would have a national relevance: so long as it is written with full respect towards “all” facts through an investigation that is academically valid. The model that must be mentioned for this would be the history of the years leading to Independence written by Professor Joe Pirotta. You might not always agree, as in my case, with Pirotta’s perspective but there is no doubt that his history remains priceless.     

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IMF REPORT

The latest IMF report on the state of Malta’s economy and finances as part of the so-called “Article IV consultation” process does not break new ground in its comments on Maltese economic developments of recent years – covering the challenges that needed to be overcome and the problems that will need to be faced.

Perhaps that is the most important aspect flagged by the report – the wide consensus that seems to exist about how the economy managed successfully to trundle forward despite the blows that (like the economies of other countries) it experienced due to the pandemic; and about the query regarding how the growth in the public debt is going to be reined – as is now imperative – while the economic sectors that have suffered most, like tourism, are set for recovery.

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NUCLEAR

With time, I have become increasingly sceptical regarding the ambiguities that seem to prevail in the international system by which nuclear energy is regulated, especially where this relates to military matters.

There have built up very strong pressures against Iran because rightly or wrongly, it is said that the country is developing nuclear weapons. I do not like at all how Iran is run. But do double standards exist in judging that country’s nuclear policies? For instance, have Israel, Pakistan and India developed a nuclear capability or have they not? Here one gets a frequent repetition of the statement that they consistently refute that they have, without accepting any rigorous outside inspection of the relevant facilities they might have – which is exactly Iran’s position.

Then, questions must arise about the recent agreement for the US to supply Australia with nuclear powered submarines. The arrangement strikes a discordant note. As far as I know, Australia is not one of the countries which are entitled to develop a nuclear capability.

Even how this right has been acquired by those “possessing” it is quite a peculiar affair.

 

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