The Malta Independent 31 January 2023, Tuesday
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War in Ukraine takes centre stage at meeting of heads of state in Malta

Thursday, 6 October 2022, 21:06 Last update: about 5 months ago

The war in Ukraine was among the topics that were discussed today in a one-day meeting of heads of state, known as the Arraiolos Malta 2022.

In his concluding remarks, President George Vella said the war in Ukraine brought about the wide-ranging consequences it has brought on all our countries, and the international community at large, not least its effects on the energy sector, rising commodity prices, and destabilising effects on our economies.

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 I take this opportunity to reiterate my outright condemnation of this unjustified and inexcusable war on Ukraine by Russia. No words are enough to condemn this atrocious disregard of international law and lack of respect for national sovereignty,” the President said.

Vella highlighted the worrying developments in Malta’s immediate neighbourhood, the Mediterranean, and stressed the need for the international community to keep these developments high on its agenda. “I brought to the table the issue of irregular migration on the Central Mediterranean route and reiterated my calls for solidarity with frontline countries being put into practice,” Vella said.

Later on, during the second working session we discussed ways in which we could and should diminish global disparities and social injustices. “We had a close look at the situation within the EU, and also reflected on its role in addressing disparities on a global level. In my intervention, I elaborated on the importance of effective Development policies, the role of women and youth in ensuring access to basic needs such as food, health, education, energy, and mobility”.

In this context, reference was also made to the courage and the determination being shown by women in Iran, fighting off repression to achieve basic rights and fundamental freedoms.

During both sessions we spoke openly and frankly, like one would do with trusted partners, Vella said.

“While we may not have found immediate solutions to the threats and challenges around us, I am sure that the concerns and proposals we exchanged amongst us, have contributed greatly to understanding each other’s positions and perspectives.”

Italian news agency Ansa reported that, during his few hours stay in Malta, Italian President Sergio Mattarella met his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier, with whom he discussed the differences that exist at present on the EU policy regarding energy.

"We must ease the consequences of energy cost hikes on the lives of households and businesses," Ansa reports Mattarella as saying.

The Italian head of state added: "Faced with those who make of energy an instrument of international pressure and speculation, the European Union is called to react with a sense of community and solidarity". 

On protests by women in Iran, Mattarella said the force of human rights is unstoppable. The protests started after the death in police custody last month of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini who was accused of breaking the Asian country's strict dress codes.

"The force of European values in defence of rights, freedom and democracy is unstoppable, as shown by the situation in Iran," Mattarella said at the Arraiolos United for Europe meeting on Malta.

"We must therefore equip ourselves with adequate instruments. A common foreign and defence policy for the (EU) is indispensable".

Dozens of people, mostly women, have been killed in a crackdown on the protests that started after Amini's death on September 16.

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