PM trav­el­ling to Moscow on Tues­day in wake of dis­pute over Rus­sian war­ship

Malta Independent - - NEWS - Gabriel Schem­bri

Prime Min­is­ter Joseph Mus­cat will be trav­el­ling to Moscow to meet Rus­sian Prime Min­is­ter Dmitry Medvedev at the Krem­lin, The Malta In­de­pen­dent on Sun­day has learnt.

This meet­ing will be held in the wake of the re­cent de­ci­sion by the Mal­tese govern­ment not to

al­low a Rus­sian war­ship to en­ter Mal­tese wa­ters for re­fu­elling. The Rus­sian Navy Ship RFS Dubna was ini­tially given the green light to dock in Malta be­tween 4 and 6 Novem­ber, but this con­ces­sion was later with­drawn.

The with­drawal was made af­ter pres­sure was ex­erted by the US and the UK, given that the ship

was pos­si­bly on its way to the Mid­dle East to sup­port Rus­sian and Syr­ian air strikes in Syria. For­eign Min­is­ter Ge­orge Vella later said that Malta took or­ders from no-one, but had with­drawn its per­mis­sion on hu­man­i­tar­ian grounds.

Rus­sian news agency Tass re­ported last Fri­day that the Rus­sian govern­ment was not pleased

with Malta’s turn­about.

“A state­ment by Malta’s For­eign Min­is­ter Ge­orge Vella falls out of line with any di­plo­matic rou­tine though he stated it many times that the de­ci­sion was passed in­de­pen­dently with­out any ex­ter­nal pres­sure pro­ceed­ing from the pur­poses, which our mil­i­tary pur­sue,” the Rus­sian For­eign Min­istry stated.

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