PRESS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE MINISTRY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Minister for Foreign Affairs George W. Vella meets UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Boris Johnson

Today, Minister for Foreign Affairs George W. Vella held official talks with UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in Valletta. Minister Vella underlined the fact that excellent bilateral relations have been consistently and persistently nurtured over the years in political, cultural, touristic, and various other areas. The issue of bilateral relations, in the context of Brexit, also featured highly in the talks, with both sides agreeing that the two countries should reinforce current cooperation, especially in the field of education and health, and explore new opportunities to further augment the exchanges between Malta and the UK.

Minister Vella provided a general overview of the priorities of the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and the impact on Malta’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union once the UK proceeds to trigger Article 50. In relation to this, Minister Vella also referred to the Commonwealth, and how the UK’s departure from the EU could have an impact on citizens from other Commonwealth countries who are gaining access to certain opportunities in the EU through the UK’s EU membership. The UK Foreign Secretary said that the UK is seeking to have a strong relationship with the EU, and the UK envisages a relationship that would boost economies on both sides.

During the meeting, particular focus was also given to numerous regional challenges where the Ministers exchanged their views on the situation in the Mediterranean, with particular attention to Libya and Syria.

On Libya the discussion centred on the impasse that prevails at the moment and on how one could bring the military and political powers to work together in the best interests and for the benefit of the Libyan people. The two ministers agreed to work closely together on possible lines of action.

On Syria the ministers reflected on the gravity of the situation in Aleppo, and on the different scenarios that could evolve following further political discussions at an international level.

Source: Government of Malta