Cre­at­ing fur­ther op­por­tu­ni­ties to in­crease Saudi Ara­bia-Malta’s bi­lat­eral re­la­tion­ship’s po­ten­tial

The Malta Business Weekly - - FRONT PAGE -

Although Malta has had an “ex­cel­lent” bi­lat­eral re­la­tion­ship with Saudi Ara­bia since 1975, Min­is­ter for For­eign Af­fairs and Trade Pro­mo­tion Carmelo Abela dis­cussed ways in which to fur­ther this co­op­er­a­tion with their For­eign Min­istry’s Deputy Min­is­ter for Po­lit­i­cal and Eco­nomic Af­fairs Adel bin Si­raj Mir­dad. “We have not yet reached our bi­lat­eral re­la­tion­ship’s po­ten­tial,” he said, iden­ti­fy­ing sev­eral pos­si­ble ar­eas from tourism, trade and in­vest­ment, to trans­port, ed­u­ca­tion and the en­vi­ron­ment.

Min­is­ter Abela com­mended Saudi Ara­bia for its re­cent po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic and es­pe­cially so­cial re­forms which he noted were un­prece­dented and could not have been easy for their gov­ern­ment, while urg­ing for this process to con­tinue. He spoke about the im­por­tance of cre­at­ing poli­cies that al­low women with chil­dren to return to work and the ben­e­fits this brings to the so­ci­ety as well as the econ­omy.

Min­is­ter Abela added that their two peace-pro­mot­ing na­tions need to work to­gether and harder to cre­ate the sta­bil­ity and se­cu­rity re­quired to pro­mote peace in the re­gion and be­yond be­fore dis­cussing the situation in Libya, Qatar, Ye­men and Syria. He ex­pressed con­cern at the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing eco­nomic and hu­man­i­tar­ian situation in the lat­ter es­pe­cially for chil­dren who were miss­ing an ed­u­ca­tion and could be­come a “lost gen­er­a­tion”. “If we move for­ward and get re­sults, they are re­sults not just for the Saudi peo­ple and their re­gion but also for the whole international com­mu­nity.”

Min­is­ter Abela also dis­cussed Iran and re­it­er­ated Malta’s be­lief that di­a­logue and diplomacy is the best way for­ward and that Malta is com­mit­ted to the up­hold­ing of the Joint Com­pre­hen­sive Plan of Ac­tion, because it is a key el­e­ment of the nu­clear non-pro­lif­er­a­tion global ar­chi­tec­ture and a cat­a­lyst for the pro­mul­ga­tion of se­cu­rity in the area. “The con­tin­ued ef­fec­tive im­ple­men­ta­tion of the JCPOA may in­crease the mo­men­tum and po­lit­i­cal will to over­come any ad­di­tional chal­lenges to non-pro­lif­er­a­tion.”

The min­is­ter added that it’s im­por­tant for Malta to bring peo­ple to­gether to the table of di­a­logue and diplomacy “which is why I believe pas­sion­ately in the work which Euro­pean Com­mis­sion – League of Arab States Li­ai­son Of­fice is do­ing. It sym­bol­ises the spirit and co­op­er­a­tion be­tween two promi­nent re­gions and must con­tinue to do so in the com­ing fu­ture.”

Deputy Min­is­ter Mir­dad was in Malta to co-chair the Malta-Saudi Ara­bia Joint Eco­nomic Com­mis­sion dur­ing which a Mem­o­ran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing for Sci­en­tific and Ed­u­ca­tional Co­op­er­a­tion was also signed. This, Min­is­ter Abela added “would serve to strengthen the bi­lat­eral re­la­tion­ship be­tween our two countries”.

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