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Malta and US discuss Mediterranean region

North Africa and Middle East top agenda during meeting between foreign minister George Vella and US officials.

Staff Reporter
18 May 2013, 12:00am

The political development in North Africa and Middle East dominated talks between foreign affairs minister George Vella and the US Deputy Assistant Secretary from the Bureau of European & Eurasian Affairs, Kathleen Doherty.

Doherty said that the aim of her visit was to get the Maltese perspective on global issues, particularly within the Mediterranean, and discuss how the two countries could continue collaborating.

George Vella expressed his concern over North Africa and Middle East saying that Syria was "the most acute problem at the moment."

Doherty and Vella exchanged views on the discussions that are currently taking place within EU institutions on the arms embargo and the Geneva II Conference which had been agreed to by the US and Russia. 

The US representative also asked about the Maltese government's perspective on Libya, saying that the US was increasingly concerned about the growing instability.

The two sides exchange views on the recent developments in Libya including the standoff with the armed militias and the adoption of the Political Isolation Law. 

The situation in Tunisia and Egypt were also discussed as were the EU and the US engagements with regard to the Mediterranean region.

Vella said that the immediate challenge in the region was Syria and expressed hopr that the situation would improve to allow the necessary breathing space to find a regional solution.

The foreign affairs minister also stressed the importance of the Middle East Peace Process, pointing out that the central problem in the Middle East was the construction of settlements on occupied land by Israel.

He said that any initiative which did not address this issue was doomed to fail. 

During the meeting Minister Vella took the opportunity to express the government's gratitude to the US side for the solidarity shown in the resettlement of migrants, saying that he hoped the cooperation established in this field would continue.
God Bless America they helped us mor than the EU RE refugees Maybe in the future we could join the USA.