Malta’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and European Relations Evarist Bartolo highlighted yesterday the development of Qatari-Maltese ties in all fields, noting that it continues to grow thanks to the joint political will and the commitment of both sides to enhance it to benefit the two countries and peoples, at a time where both sides are looking to explore investment opportunities in the two countries, especially with the coronavirus pandemic fading around the world.
In an exclusive interview with QNA, he said Qatari-Maltese ties stand on important pillars and were characterised by the activity of the two countries despite their small size and population, in addition, to the mutual respect they have for each other and their commitment to protecting themselves in a world where no-one needs to be taught what to do by another side.
He added that the Maltese side was excited by Qatar’s comprehensive renaissance over the past few years, in accordance with a clear vision of how it can build itself.
Bartolo expressed his appreciation for Qatar’s big and positive steps towards democratic practice, stressing that the October Shura Council elections will be a real addition to the country’s progress. He said that Malta welcomes these elections and wishes Qatar further progress, development and sustainable growth.
He said Qatar’s efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) in terms of providing the perfect healthcare services to its citizens and residents without discrimination sets an example for other countries to follow in terms of dealing with these condition by focusing on the humanitarian aspect.
He also said he was pleased that Qatar Airways was a leader in providing flights from Qatar to Malta, becoming an important way for Maltese citizens to return home. He also praised the presence of a Qatari bank operating in Malta as it comes in the context of the constantly developing ties between the two countries.
Bartolo expressed his great pleasure at the end of the Gulf crisis and the achievement of reconciliation among the parties. He said that though Malta was happy with the end of the crisis, the country was saddened by the Qatar blockade. He noted that the blockade however, helped Qatar become more self-reliant and self-sufficient in terms of special products in the field of food production. He said that when countries face such a blockade, they either collapse or come out stronger, adding that it was the latter that happened to Qatar.
He expressed his hope that relations between the GCC would return to its previous era after the reconciliation.
Regarding the tensions, conflicts and wars in the Middle East area in general, he said Qatar and Malta completely agree on the importance of solving all the disputes between the countries or inside the same country by peaceful means and through dialogue and that the mediators must remain at the same distance from the conflicting parties and work with patience without interference and imposing dictation, and making the talks proceed freely in order to find ways to resolve the disagreement and conflict, and this is what Qatar and Malta have succeeded in doing.
He affirmed, in this context, the important role played by Qatar at the international level as it became an influential player in conflict resolution, so that it will always be part of solving problems, not a cause or a party of it.
He added that Malta was happy with Qatar’s mediating efforts in many conflicts, citing its efforts to bring peace to the Middle East as well as its efforts to achieve harmony between the Afghan parties themselves to bring peace and security in their country, by hosting their negotiations in Doha. He said those negotiations have led to building confidence between them in order to achieve the interests of their people, the security and stability of their country, and build its future.
The minister hoped that peace and security would prevail in all conflict areas in the Middle East and the world, and that armed confrontations and conflicts that only arms dealers would benefit from would disappear.
He noted that the new American administration is required to work with the rest of the world, and this is what it had demonstrated and confirmed on its first day in office, by its willingness to work with everyone for the sake of global peace and security, and to contribute to solving world problems, not causing it, calling on the Biden administration, at this particular time, to overcome the current problems of the country, in terms of achieving the unity of Americans and overcoming the coronavirus pandemic, so that the United States would be more able to deal and co-operate with other countries on issues of peace, security, climate change and other international issues.
In response to a question about the FIFA World Cup to be hosted by Qatar next year, he said he was very happy with the extensive preparations that Qatar has made to make this international sporting event a success. He disclosed that he visited one of the stadiums where the World Cup will be held, Al Rayyan Stadium, which has a capacity of 47,000 spectators, noting that it is a modern sports facility that has the latest and highest international standards and conditions in terms of construction, lighting, pitch, and other required facilities.
In conclusion, the minister expressed his complete satisfaction over the state of Qatari-Maltese relations and the results of his visit to Doha, pointing out that the two countries are now harvesting what they planted over the past years in the course of the distinguished relations between them.
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