PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Memorandum of Understanding on Strategic Dialogue signed with the Gulf Cooperation Council

This morning Minister for Foreign Affairs George W. Vella signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Abdul Latif Bin Rashid al Zayani, who is presently in Malta on an official visit. In welcoming the Secretary General, Minister Vella stated that the visit attests to the strong relations between Malta and the GCC and comes at an opportune juncture. The intensification of relations between the EU and the GCC is one of the main priorities of the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the field of foreign affairs.

Secretary General al Zayani expressed his satisfaction at being in Malta and underlined his appreciation of the country’s economic performance, which also seeks to preserve a unique cultural heritage. Members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, composed of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar, are fully aware of the positions in favour of dialogue and engagement with the Gulf region that Malta has traditionally put forward on an international level. The Secretary General congratulated Malta on the very relevant priorities it has set out to achieve during the six-month Presidency stint.

During the discussions, the two sides agreed on taking cooperation forward on a number of areas of common interest such as commercial exchanges, health, research and development. Above all, the two sides agreed on the importance of enhancing the people-to-people dialogue through cultural events, student exchanges and tourism. Views were also exchanged on pressing regional issues namely Syria, the Middle East Peace Process, Yemen and Libya. Global cooperation in the area of counter terrorism was also raised.

The Memorandum of Understanding signed today provides for an annual Strategic Dialogue between the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malta and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the GCC member state holding the Presidency of the GCC Ministerial Council with discussions to focus among others on political issues, trade and investment, renewable energy, the environment, research and development.

Source: Government of Malta