President George Vella this morning discussed current Mediterranean affairs with students from Malta and other countries who are currently reading for an M.A. in Conflict Resolution and Mediterranean Security at the University of Malta. The discussion was organised at Sant’ Anton Palace by the Centre for the Study and Practice of Conflict Resolution, a recently established centre within the University of Malta with a view to engaging in conflict resolution research and practice.
The topics discussed included general Mediterranean challenges, the situation in Libya and North Africa, migration on the Central Mediterranean route, issues such as climate change, marine pollution and desertification, Malta’s contribution to Mediterranean diplomacy, and the importance of interfaith dialogue in the Mediterranean.
The President discussed Malta’s role in the Mediterranean, its contributions as well as initiatives being taken to help address these issues. He said that Malta’s role in the Mediterranean is to preach and promote peace and, above all, to provide assistance despite its own limitations as a small country. He explained some of the challenges that individual countries within the Mediterranean are facing due to their histories and political backgrounds, as well as other general challenges and their effects on the life and politics of this region.
In relation to Libya’s situation, the President explained that it is in Malta’s interest to see Libya stabilised, both for the return of stability and security in the region, as well as for bilateral commercial reasons, not to mention other factors, chief amongst which is migration. Millions of people worldwide risk their lives to migrate each year due to poverty and war, in an attempt to achieve a better life. In this case, he said, it is our responsibility to rescue these people and help them find a better life. However, we rely on other EU countries’ assistance in the matter due to our limitations. With reference to climate change, President Vella mentioned some of the initiatives being taken by Malta in order to raise awareness about the issue and Malta’s participation in discussions worldwide.
The students were led by Dr Omar Grech, Director of the Centre for the Study and Practice of Conflict Resolution, who at the end of the interactive session presented the President with a publication on conflict resolution after the pandemic as a token of appreciation.
Source: Office of the Prime Minister