Malta refuses to expel Russian diplomats
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – Russian diplomats will not be expelled from Malta. However, the Maltese authorties are freezing a request from the Russian government to deploy more diplomatic staff to the Mediterranean island. This was confirmed by the new Maltese Foreign Minister Ian Borg following the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg.
Minister Borg stated that the decision reflects Maltàs small size and limitations of its diplomatic presence and wanted to ensure that Maltàs embassy in Moscow will be kept functioning. However, the minister’s statements highlight how Russiàs invasion of Ukraine has disrupted Maltàs ongoing efforts to develop further ties with Russia.
The Maltese Foreign Minister added that Malta has “reaffirmed its position to condemn, without reservations, the atrocities that we are witnessing” without referring to Russia. Meanwhile, Malta also pledged to cooperate fully in the implementation of any sanctions that are decided at EU level.
Minister Borg confirmed that there had been an “expectation” that Malta would expel diplomats as other member states had done. In Malta, calls to expel diplomats have been made by former Nationalist Party MP Jason Azzopardi.
Diplomatic expulsions were stepped up after the Russian invasion of Ukraine and EU countries justified the expulsions on national security grounds, with governments insisting that the diplomats were a cover for espionage efforts that would only serve to undermine the countries hosting them.