Security partnership during different historic moments between Malta and the USA commemorated
The Charge’ d’Affaires at the US Embassy in Malta, Mark A. Schapiro who is currently carrying out diplomatic duties in the absence of the appointment of a new US Ambassador to Malta, spoke of the historic relations that have evolved in the security sector between Malta and the United States. He spoke thus while uncovering a commemorative plaque at the Upper Barrakka Gardens covering episodes of relations between Malta and the USA.
These Gardens contain a great number of monuments and plaques of personalities or distinctive historic moments. Another has now been added to commemorate the part played by the US Navy ship the USS Constitution in its fight against pirates at the beginning of the 19th Century.
Charge’ d’Affaires Schapiro recalled that Maltese sailors had also been employed on the Constitution while she served in the Mediterranean and the ship had often entered the Grand Harbour and was another link in the relationship between the two countries.
”Our partnership with Malta and that has been going on for more than two hundred years so this is a very special moment, the USS Constitution was a very unique ship, it’s our flagship and it’s still seaworthy today.”
He said that despite the geographical distance between the two countries, the historic roots of the relationship are strong and emerged during the US War of Independence when about 1,800 Maltese and Knights had been engaged by George Washington to help attain American independence.
Schapiro said that in 1942, during World War II, the American tanker SS Ohio was part of Operation Pedestal and had delivered long-awaited provisions to the people of Malta in what is still known as the Santa Marija Convoy.
The Charge’ d’Affaires recounted that as recently as 2011 the Grand Harbour was the main focal point for the evacuation of US citizens from Libya. Further cooperation is still ongoing today in other security sectors.
”Smuggling, financial crime, trafficking in drugs and trafficking in persons and so on and on and on, these are the nature of the threats we face today, terrorism, migration and the challenges…so because they are transnational, the solutions themselves must be transnational.”
He said the United States cooperates with Malta and other countries in the region to help increase security.