Malta will have good contact with US Government through Pete Buttigieg – Minister Bartolo
Malta is not ready to enter into any agreement which undermines its neutrality or sovereignty, including the sovereignty of its jurisdiction.
This statement was made by the Minister for Foreign and European Affairs Evarist Bartolo, when he was replying to supplementary questions by Nationalist MPs Kevin Cutajar and David Thake.
Minister Bartolo said that last summer Malta discussed the co-operation between the two countries with American Emissary Mike Asper, in sectors which will not affect Malta’s dignity. He said that the sectors which they discussed included the fight against organised economic crime in the light of the fact that a lot of merchant ships in the Mediterranean pass close to Malta and close to Hurd’s Bank.
He said that one also has to consider that 90% of the trade with Libya goes through Malta. He said that organised economic crime includes trafficking of drugs and illegal weapons.
Minister Bartolo said that at no moment have discussions been held on the armed forces agreement known as SOFA–US. He added however that years ago, the American Government had made a request under a different administration. The previous administration had not wished to take this route.
He added that Malta is ready to work closely with newly elected US President Joe Biden. He said that Malta is pleased that through the new Secretary for transport, Pete Buttigieg, Malta will have a good contact with the new Biden administration.
Speaking about the arrest of Russian Opposition leader Alexei Navalny, Minister Bartolo said that Malta has the same position of other European countries as expressed by the EU.