MALTA, VELLA RECEIVED AMBASSADORS-DESIGNATE UK, CHINA, URUGUAY, IRAQ
Minister for Foreign Affairs George W. Vella received the High Commissioner Designate of the UK Stuart William Gill, Ambassador-Designate for the People’s Republic of China Jiang Jiang, Ambassador-Designate for Uruguay Gaston Lasarte, and Ambassador-Designate for Iraq Ahmad Bamarni.
Welcoming the new British High Commissioner Stuart William Gill to Malta, Minister Vella referred to the historically good relations between Malta and the UK, as well as the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting held in Malta last year, and Her Majesty’s and other Royal Family members’ visit. Minister Vella noted that Brexit would feature prominently during Malta’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union during the first six months of 2017. Malta is already contemplating the approach to be taken in this respect and will strive to see excellent relations evolving between the EU and the UK. Minister Vella also noted that tourism from the UK is booming. Further to this, Minister Vella thanked the United Kingdom for attaching an expert to Malta during its upcoming Presidency. Meanwhile, the High Commissioner stressed the continuity in relations between the two countries and assured the Minister that he would strive to further develop relations between the UK and Malta.
Minister Vella also held a meeting with the Ambassador-Designate of China Jiang Jiang. Minister Vella began by expressing satisfaction with the excellent relations shared by the two countries, underlining their special relationship as one which is highly dynamic and beneficial. The Minister outlined the importance of continued cooperation on trade and other sectors, and referred to Malta’s involvement in China’s 21st Maritime Silk Road Project and its founding member status of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. The Minister also underlined the importance of further cooperation between the EU and China, and that Malta will continue to promote the intensification of these relations. Ambassador Jiang Jiang conveyed his admiration at how the relationship between the two countries has developed, and stated that both countries have coordinated closely on international issues and cultivated strong relations. The Ambassador expressed his commitment to the strengthening of relations between China and Malta.
During his meeting with the Ambassador-Designate of Uruguay Gaston Lasarte, the Minister outlined the need to explore possible areas of cooperation in order to further strengthen the relations between Malta and Uruguay, particularly in the trade, culture, education and maritime sectors. On his part, Ambassador Lasarte expressed his commitment to deepen the relations between the two countries. Discussions were also held on the EU’s relations with the Community of Latin America and Caribbean (CELAC) and the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), as well as the challenges currently being faced in Latin America.
The Minister also received the Ambassador-Designate of Iraq Ahmad Bamrani. In recalling the long-standing bilateral relations with Iraq, the Minister referred to developments on the ground and the need to counter terrorism in the country. Minister Vella expressed his hope that the progressive efforts being undertaken to ensure the liberation of Mosul would result in a turning point that would bring hope and motivation to the Iraqi people. Discussions also touched upon the reforms being undertaken in Iraq in order to restore stability to the country and the region, as well as the dire humanitarian situation in Iraq. Both sides also referred to the relations between the EU and the League of Arab States, and the Minister underlined the important role of the European Commission-League of Arab State Liaison Office (ECLASLO) based in Malta in this regard.