PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE PROMOTION

Malta will remain committed to forge a better future which is safer, more secure, and free of chemical and biological weapons

We accepted to host this meeting to underline our commitment to this export control regime and to the global non-proliferation agenda. Malta has always adopted a strong position when it comes to disarmament and non-proliferation issues, and actively strives to strengthen the global non-proliferation architecture. This was underlined by Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Carmelo Abela during the opening of the Australia Group Intersessional Meeting which is being hosted by Malta at The Palace Hotel in Sliema. Minister Abela welcomed the experts which were participating at the meeting and lauded the focus on reaching out to a number of Middle Eastern countries during the Malta session.

Minister Abela further expanded on Malta’s current seat in the OPCW Executive Council as a tangible commitment Malta has towards the OPCW and the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

He underlined the difficulties associated with the proliferation and non-proliferation of weapons: The proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction poses a serious and enduring threat to global security and stability. Preventing and disrupting the proliferation of WMDs, their precursors, or means of delivery is in the security interests of every country. The recent re-emergence of the use of chemical weapons demonstrates that such risks still exist.

Due to the challenges associated with non-proliferation, we believe that our membership of strategic export control regimes is an essential block of our policy planning and implementation. Malta joined the Australia Group 15 years ago, in 2004, and has since then benefitted greatly from this important vehicle. Being a major shipping hub, we are well aware of the importance of networking with international colleagues and of identifying differences and gaps in export control systems and strategic planning.

Minister Abela stated that by building strong partnerships, we can strengthen our capacity and resolve to prevent the proliferation of illicit weapons and materials by State and non-State actors alike.

Minister Abela reaffirmed the importance of strategic export control and underlined Malta’s commitment towards those export control regimes Malta is a party to.

During his speech, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion applauded the important work undertaken by the Australian Group to harmonise national export control systems on dual-use chemicals, biological agents and chemical-biological equipment and technology. He also expressed Malta’s support for the continued efforts within this forum to focus on preventing the proliferation of goods and technologies to terrorists and non-State actors, which would translate into a chemical or biological threat.

The sharing of experiences and best practice, and a better understanding of emerging and new technologies can aid us to collectively reach our aspired goal of encouraging regular trade and disrupting illicit transfers.

The Australia Group is an informal forum of countries which, through the harmonisation of export controls, seeks to ensure that exports do not contribute to the development of chemical or biological weapons. The number of countries participating in the Australia Group has grown from 15 in 1985 to 41 plus the European Union.

Source: Government of Malta