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Update 2 | Government reacts to Labour motion for Richard Cachia Caruana's resignation

Labour say Wikileaks cables revealed Richard Cachia Caruana's active lobbying for Malta's re-entry into the Partnership for Peace, bypassing the country's sovereignty.

Matthew Vella
20 April 2012, 12:00am
Malta's permanent representative to the EU Richard Cachia Caruana (Photo: Ray Attard/Mediatoday).
Updated at 7:42pm with government's statement.

The Office of the Prime Minister has denied that there was any proposal in 2004 for Malta to become a member of Nato's Partnership for Peace, accusing the Opposition - which today filed a motion calling for the resignation of Richard Cachia Caruana - of misunderstanding contents of US embassy cables concerning Malta.

The Labour Party tabled a motion of censure at 9:30am, calling for the resignation of Malta's permanent representative to the European Union, Richard Cachia Caruana, for his 'behind-the-scenes' role in bringing Malta into Nato's Partnership for Peace in 2008 and bypassing the parliamentary procedure for this decision.



Shadow foreign minister George Vella cited the contents revealed in US embassy cables by Wikileaks in 2011, which showed Cachia Caruana had actively lobbied the United States as early as 2004 to reactivate Malta's participation in the PfP.

"This motion is being presented because it was revealed clearly how Cachia Caruana had manipulated events, together with another country, to bypass Malta's parliamentary sovereignty. He convinced the prime minister to take a decision that goes beyond democratic norms," Vella said.

While Vella - who in 1996 signed an "unconditional withdrawal" from the PfP after Labour was elected to power - said the PL was always suspicious of the "dubious" way in which PfP membership was reactivated, the Wikileaks cables revealing Cachia Caruana's lobbying were published in 2011.

Labour's motion comes just a week after Nationalist MP Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando raised opposition against the government's support of Turkish membership into the EU - the same country had opposed Malta's participation into Nato-EU security meetings, because the island was not a Nato member.

"The permanent representative advised Malta's government, and actively devised a way so that there is no parliamentary accountability in these decisions. With his actions, the Permanent Representative put the interests of other countries above our country's; this House deplores the fact that the Maltese parliament was bypassed in sensitive matters, with no public discussion of something not even included in the government's electoral mandate," the motion reads.

Referring to one of the cables which detailed meetings between Cachia Caruana and United States officials in Brussels, the OPM said the cables concern a 2004 meeting in which the permanent representative and US diplomats discussed how Malta could gain access to Nato-EU documents, so that Malta participates in these strategic meetings with Nato.

"It is clear that the discussions were on the security agreements with Nato that Malta had signed in 1996, and not any proposal by anybody in 2004 for Malta to enter the Partnership for Peace.

"The facts are clearly the opposite of what the Labour opposition understands. Our country deserves a more serious Opposition."

In a statement, Labour said government's reply was "weak" and said it had nothing with which to contradict the motion. "Labour invites GonziPN to debate the motion in parliament without any delay."

Reactivating PfP

Richard Cachia Caruana was instrumental in bringing Malta into the stream of Nato's Partnership for Peace by overturning Labour's "unconditional withdrawal" in 1996. [FULL STORY in MaltaToday - 5 September, 2011]

As revealed in the US embassy cables, Cachia Caruana proposed a "procedural bandaid" by which Malta would argue that it had not withdrawn from the PfP, but "simply ceased active participation" making it possible to say that the prior PfP agreement 'remained in force'.

Cachia Caruana actively lobbied the US for support as early as 2004, because Turkey was blocking both Malta and Cyprus from joining the Nato-EU fora: specifically as retaliation for the isolation of Turkish Cypriots after the rejection of the Annan plan for reunification by Greek Cypriots.

Malta was caught in the crossfire because Turkey was demanding that both countries become PfP members as well as sign a Nato security agreement, which option faced domestic opposition in both Cyprus and Malta.

As described by US ambassador Molly Bordonaro in an embassy cable leaked by Wikileaks: "Malta officials estimate popular sentiment runs 50/50 over Malta rejoining NATO PfP... given the current stalemate over the NATO security agreement and political challenges to rejoin PfP, the question arose whether Malta had withdrawn completely from PfP in 1996, or simply ended its active participation and its Individual Partner Program."

Cachia Caruana's solution was to have Malta declare that it had simply suspended participation in PfP in 1996, but not that it had formally withdrawn from the agreements.

This was in direct contrast to the "unconditional withdrawal" of the Labour government in 1996. As shadow foreign minister George Vella told ambassador Douglas Kmiec in November 2009, Labour had executed a "complete unconditional withdrawal" from PfP, having himself approved the letter to NATO.

He went on to tell Kmiec that it would have been "improper for NATO to have characterised the action as a suspension" and that the government had no basis to "reactivate" Malta's PfP membership.

Gonzi never made any public pronouncement on his intentions to 'reactivate' the PfP membership. On 31 January 2008 - two month before his re-election - he informed ambassador Molly Bordonaro that Malta would rejoin PfP if the Nationalists win the elections.

Left rudderless after their defeat in the March 2008 elections with Alfred Sant's resignation, Labour sat silent as Gonzi and Tonio Borg rushed to Brussels the day after victory to sign the PfP agreement.

Cachia Caruana's strategy gave Gonzi a unilateral approach that meant he did not need the House's approval - but most importantly, bypass the Turkish stumbling block of signing a NATO security agreement.

Graduated in anthropology, Matthew Vella joined MaltaToday in 2002.

He has been ed...

Zunzan
Where are toni vella u demartino? Have they become speechless or are they waiting for instructions from tal-Pieta what to write?
tony sultana
We need a navy base here to defend our country and the EU.For that NATO is the best,the prove is the Libya war,won a war with out causualty.But this government is in the wrong direction.
jurgen galea
MLP = Poor fellows.
Joe Borg
Even people in PN say that this person is unfit for the office he holds and has criminally abused his position. May i remind the readers that the same person was knifed in a murder attempt - this much cannot be covered up. The part the spin doctors at PN might play with is the fact that he was attacked by one of Eddie's thugs and the hit job was paid for in cocaine. This is what this country has come down too. Apart from all this background - the accusations brought on by PL are sufficient for his immediate dismissal. We don't even need to go into the millions of tax payers money that this person and his KPMG have stolen from the tax payers. I suppose Gonzi will want to keep this scum bag around - like all the other scum bags he has some out to defend. That only goes to show what any person with a brain knows in Malta. Gonzi is a DICTATOR. If you do not abide with the law of the land - and surround yourself with criminals and refuse to give up power - YOU ARE A DICTATOR!! That is what you get when you allow a Eddie to contend an election and resign the following week to his designated heir - YOU GET A DICTATOR. There are some pretty dumb countries on this planet - and we sure at trying to top that list!
fufa
Din l-istorja hija wahda klassika ta' kif tahdem oligarkija. Kull ma jaghmlu huma kollox sew. Haddiehor mohhu ma jwassalx ma taghhom. Allura jaghlaq halqu u joqghod cicci bil-qedgha u jghidilhom grazzi ta' kull ma jaghmlu. Il-poplu jeleggi d-deputati tieghu imma jiehu d-decizjonijiet haddiehor li jaf kollox u jifhem f'kollox. Franco, Franco meta se tehles lil dan il-pajjiz mil-jasar?
James Grech
The PL's motion has stirred quite a bit the PN's and more so, it seems, Mr.Cachia Caruana's clique. If one takes a look at the amount of individuals that have came forward in favour of the capabilities and professionalism of Mr CC on ToM, one remains astonished at this overwhelming reaction. Dr.Franco Debono's statements wrt RCC are once again being confirmed. Malta is truly in dire straits and more so its democratic credentials. When a civil servant such as RCC manages to acquire such power which he is using as he pleases, even though he was not democratically elected by the ppl, then this is truly worrying.
James Grech
The PL's motion has stirred
James Grech
The PL's motion has stirred
mario dalli
Nissaportu ftit iehor hbieb u mux huma jirrizenjaw imma il-poplu jixkupom darba ghal dejjem il-dawn li minalijom ma jista ghalijom hadd u xejn.
m borg
'malonki, how "bravu" is RCC? Maybe he should be next gonzipn leader.
Maria D Fenech
Then Dr Franco Debono was right all along......
John Mercieca
gelfo the USA and Russia as superpowers were not able to defend their own countries. Remember 9/11? Remember the many attacks in Russia by separatists? The best defense is to be neutral and friendly with everyone and not side with anyone as the foreigners lackey Gonzi regime is doing by making Malta a PfP member in blatant violation of the Constitution and allowing NATO warships to visit Malta. We want cruise ships NOT warships and their crews with a wife and children in every country they visit.
Ethelbert Scehmebri
Another traitor !! And whoever is in favor that he keeps on going as if nothing happen is a traitor too !! These individuals have no sense of state at all, they are only interested in what they will gain personally. So now it's pay back time R.C.C !
Basil Borg
Mhux biss il-laburisti kellhom joqghodu ghad-diktat ta Richard cachia Caruna li ma ivvota ghalih hadd, imma anke dawk il-hafna Nazzjonalisti,li minghajr ma jafu, l-ideat taghhom ma jiswewx karlin-tiswa biss il-vuci tal-klikka ta gewwa li ma ivvota ghalihom hadd! In-Nazzjonlaiti li jiktbu hawn f'din il-gazzetta, huma pappagalli tal-klikka mhix eletta-kif qal Debono- li tmexxi il-veraPN,,....mhux il-PN ji jidher fil-konferenza generali fejn hu kollox messinxena, imma il-PN fejn jinhema kollox fis-salotti ta djar privati!
joseph busuttil
Can anybody doubting Dr. F.Debono's staements? May God give us more MPs like him!
xprun
Isir jew ma jsirx il-vot biex jittajjar RCC, hekk jew hekk, dan ftit xhur ohra fadallu qabel jisparixxi mix-xena. U jekk isir il-vot u RCC jitnehha, jkun ta' gwadann anke ghall-PN ghax jehlisu minn xkiel li giebhom fis-sitwazzjoni mwerha li jinsabu fiha llum.
mtvmalta
Naqbel 100% mal-pozizzjoni tal-PL dwar 'l-abbuz kostituzzjonali li sehh meta dahhlu lil Malta fil-PfP sa minn qabel tlaqqa' l-Parlament. F'pajjiz demokratiku tassew, wiehed kien jiftah kawza kostituzzjonali kontra l-gvern u s-shubija mal-PfP u jkun zgur li jerbahha. Hasra li, kif il-lum jaf kulhadd, dan 'l-istess partit ta’ gvern anti-demokratiku kien wassal lill-gudikatura fi stat tal-biki, imhallef il-habs u l-Prim Imhallef, minkejja sentenza ta' habs, l-anqas xammu. Iz-zjara tan-NATO bhalissa bit-TGS S. MEHMETPASA & Co trid titqies fl-istess kuntest li jridu jdahhlu truppi barranin f’Malta bis-SOFA. Il-Wikileaks kixfu li l-pjan kien li jdahhluha nkiss inkiss, billi jzidu z-zjarat ta’ bastimenti u ajruplani tal-gwerra biex in-nies tidrahom. Dal-gvern moqziez li kien jitkaza b’Mintoff [li jien qatt ma xgheltlu xema] meta ried li tinbidel il-kostituzzjoni, imissu jisthi issa jiftakar li Mintoff dejjem ghamel kollox bil-miftuh, mhux fis-sotor u bl-imghawweg bhalhom. Fil-kuntest li nxtraw imhallfin f’Malta bil-karawet, wiehed irid jiftakar li l-ghola ufficjali tal-kontrospjunagg Brittanniku u USA kienu spjuni ta’ u mixtrija mir-Russja. Nitakru wkoll l-ghajdut li Megrahi innocenti spicca l-habs bix-xiri ta’ xhud bi tlitt miljun dollaru. Tifhmu lill-partit fil-gvern li halla lid-denb iferfru, ghax il-kelb kien dghajjef u medjokri, waqt li d-denb kien felhani. Kieku ma kienx hemm RCC, l-anqas kif jilbsu l-qalziet ma kienu jkunu jafu. Jien ghal kollox kontra dan l-ghemil ta’ RCC, izda t-tort tad-decizjoni hi tan-nies medjokri li kellhom is-setgha politika u li hassewhom tant inferjuri ghalih [bir-ragun] li bellaghhilhom sa gerzumithom u kisru l-kostituzzjoni. Gvern mirghun, Mubarakjan. Imissu jisthi. Jinhtieg nghassulu
mtvmalta
Naqbel 100% mal-pozizzjoni tal-PL dwar 'l-abbuz kostituzzjonali li sehh meta dahhlu lil Malta fil-PfP sa minn qabel tlaqqa' l-Parlament. F'pajjiz demokratiku tassew, wiehed kien jiftah kawza kostituzzjonali kontra l-gvern u s-shubija mal-PfP u jkun zgur li jerbahha. Hasra li, kif il-lum jaf kulhadd, dan 'l-istess partit ta’ gvern anti-demokratiku kien wassal lill-gudikatura fi stat tal-biki, imhallef il-habs u l-Prim Imhallef, minkejja sentenza ta' habs, l-anqas xammu. Iz-zjara tan-NATO bhalissa bit-TGS S. MEHMETPASA & Co trid titqies fl-istess kuntest li jridu jdahhlu truppi barranin f’Malta bis-SOFA. Il-Wikileaks kixfu li l-pjan kien li jdahhluha nkiss inkiss, billi jzidu z-zjarat ta’ bastimenti u ajruplani tal-gwerra biex in-nies tidrahom. Dal-gvern moqziez li kien jitkaza b’Mintoff [li jien qatt ma xgheltlu xema] meta ried li tinbidel il-kostituzzjoni, imissu jisthi issa jiftakar li Mintoff dejjem ghamel kollox bil-miftuh, mhux fis-sotor u bl-imghawweg bhalhom. Fil-kuntest li nxtraw imhallfin f’Malta bil-karawet, wiehed irid jiftakar li l-ghola ufficjali tal-kontrospjunagg Brittanniku u USA kienu spjuni ta’ u mixtrija mir-Russja. Nitakru wkoll l-ghajdut li Megrahi innocenti spicca l-habs bix-xiri ta’ xhud bi tlitt miljun dollaru. Tifhmu lill-partit fil-gvern li halla lid-denb iferfru, ghax il-kelb kien dghajjef u medjokri, waqt li d-denb kien felhani. Kieku ma kienx hemm RCC, l-anqas kif jilbsu l-qalziet ma kienu jkunu jafu. Jien ghal kollox kontra dan l-ghemil ta’ RCC, izda t-tort tad-decizjoni hi tan-nies medjokri li kellhom is-setgha politika u li hassewhom tant inferjuri ghalih [bir-ragun] li bellaghhilhom sa gerzumithom u kisru l-kostituzzjoni. Gvern mirghun, Mubarakjan. Imissu jisthi. Jinhtieg nghassulu
Christian Thorn
L-ID IL-MOHBIJA! Il-Kardinal Richelieu ta' Malta!
James Grech
It seems that Mr.Cachia Caruana has always had his own agenda, like when rumors had it that he aspired of becoming an EU commissioner or when he was at the fore-front of the work being planned for St.John's cathedral. An agenda which he has been pursuing with vigor and resolute. Not for nothing that certain media persons refer to him as the Cardinal.
michael sant
Kemm qieghdin sew f'dan il-pajjiz - ghandu jkun mhux gonzipn biss halliena imma anki l-partit laburista!!!! X'qed jahsbu dawk li jmexxu l-partit laburista? - possibbli jahsbu u jemmnu u tghaddilhom mill-antiporta ta' mohhom li issa se jirrizenja RCC ukoll? Forsi r-rizenji f'dawn l-ahhar snin ta' tant u tant politikanti u ministri ta' gonzipn ma kienux bizzejjed? Infakkru fir-rizenja ta' tonio fenech wara li mar jara l-arsenal u wara li irrangawlu l-villa f'hal balzan; ir-rizenja ta' austin gatt wara t-tgerfix fi smart city u fil-power station; ir-rizenja ta' carmelo mifsud bonnici wara t-tahwid li bih hu mifni s-sistema legali fil-pajjiz; ir-rizenja ta' dolores cristina wara li eluf ta' studenti baqghu barra mill-programm Erasmus ghal sena u nofs; ...... jekk issa lil gonzipn iwarrablu wkoll il-bravu RCC b'min se jmexxi? forsi triduh jerga' jgib lura lil eddie fenech adami u jaghmlu ministru plenipotenzjarju? .... halluna tridux ....
m borg
100% official......Richard Cachia Caruana is the real Prime Minister of Malta, gonzi is only a figure head and 96.5% of gonzipn delegates confirmed his BIDILLU position in the party.
Victor Gelfo
This is silly! Malta should be where it belongs as a EU nation: in NATO. These scaremingers are forgetting something crucial: defence. Once I p assed over our skys in a helicopter. There is no defence whatsoever. An armed group of terrorists can take over the island in matter of minutes! The recent landing of the libyan mirages is a case of note. They landed just out of the blues! When we had a real treat to our security, during the drilling for oil in the median line, it was NATO who comes to our rescue. I have one question to ask Dr vella. Will dictators read our constitution and consult parliament if they have some.nasty plan?
guido cutajar
Il Kostituzzjoni ta Malta ghamluha bicca karta li nuzaw fil kamra il baxxa. Li noghqodu inparlaw fix xejn ma naslu imkien. Jekk ghandhu jinbidel xi haga minnha ibdluha, jekk ser tibqaw tiksruha, il parlament kollu qeghedin titmejlu l-ewwel bil pajjiz u it tieni bic cittadin. Is sena l-ohra biss kull ajruplan u kull vapur tal gwerra li dahal, inkisret l-ghola ligi tal pajjiz.....u xejn mhu xejn.....Issa jekk xi suldat Malti jitlef hajtu jiggieled ghal pajjiz iehor...nghatuh gieh ir Republika.u funeral statali...u tieqaf hemm...
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