During a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca said that Malta has always supported the right of Palestinians for self-determination. During a joint press conference, the President said that the visit has continued to confirm Malta’s support in the journey towards peace.
President Mahmoud Abbas said that the President’s visit will strengthen the historical relationship between the two sides. Apart from strengthening the bilateral relations in various fields, the Palestinian President said that he had discussed with President Coleiro Preca the ways in which Malta, as a member of the EU, can help Palestine.
He said that he had updated the President with the current political stalemate because Israel was not accepting the solution of two states and was increasing its occupation of Palestine. He said that was why an International Peace Conference with the participation of the EU and the UN Security Council, was required.
President Coleiro Preca visited the museum of the former Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, who was killed in 2004 when he was close to achieving peace with Israel. The museum is located close to where Afarat used to have his headquarters.
The President also visited the University of Bethlehem which is run by the brothers of De la Salle. The vice-Chancellor of the university, Fr Peter Bray, explained that the life of the students is full of fear and uncertainty. He said that their challenge is to keep the students’ hope alive. He said that the presence of the President and the Government delegation gives hope to students that they are not forgotten by the international community.
President Coleiro Preca said that the Maltese believe and support the fundamental rights of the Palestinians. She spoke about tourism as a tool for peace because it brings people of different cultures together. She said that tourism also creates wealth from which citizens can benefit.
The President’s visit ended with a visit to the pharmaceutical factory, Pharmacare, which has a branch in Malta. The Chief Executive of the company, Bassem Khoury said that in Malta he feels at home, both because of the environment as well as the language.
On her part, the President said that she hopes the next visit to Palestine will be about the possibility of investment by Maltese companies in Palestine, and for Palestinian companies to invest in Malta.