Minister for Foreign Affairs George W. Vella has joined his EU colleagues in categorically condemning the attempted coup in Turkey over the weekend, while expressing Malta’s full support for the democratic and legitimate institutions of the country.
Speaking in Brussels on the sidelines of a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council, Minister Vella called on the Turkish government to use the events on Friday night as an opportunity to strengthen Turkey’s democratic credentials. The Minister stated that Malta considers Turkey to be a close partner and stands in full solidarity with the Turkish people at this difficult time. Minister Vella urged the authorities to resist the temptation of retribution, stating that the perpetrators must be brought to justice in full accordance with the law and that the attempted coup cannot be used as a pretence to mute political opposition and slide towards authoritarianism. He also joined his EU counterparts in calling on the Turkish authorities to ensure full adherence to the rule of law and respect for human rights, recalling Turkey’s obligations under the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
During the meeting, EU ministers also discussed the tragic attack in Nice and held a minute of silence out of respect for the victims. Minister Vella reiterated Malta’s full solidarity with the government and people of France, while underlining that the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU in the first semester of 2017 will do its utmost to ensure that anti-terrorist cooperation takes centre-stage in EU fora.

During the Council meeting, the ministers also discussed the EU’s relationship with China, highlighting that the EU-China summit last week had been a welcome opportunity to engage on matters of joint importance. In this context, Minister Vella welcomed a communication by the EU’s High Representative, entitled “Elements for a new EU strategy on China”, while underlining the importance of continuing the EU’s positive engagement with the country. The ministers also held discussions on the EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy and discussed the EU’s engagement with Latin America. Prior to the Council meeting, Minister Vella joined his counterparts in a working breakfast with the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, where discussions were held on various issues of joint concern, including the attempted coup in Turkey, the situation in Syria, the Middle East, Libya and global terrorism. This evening, Minister Vella is participating in a joint Council and ministerial meeting of the EU and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Source: medNews