Italy and Malta intend to “strengthen coordination” on efforts to rescue illegal immigrants at sea, because “saving lives is our highest priority”. This was the statement by Minister for Foreign Affairs Giulio Terzi at the end of a meeting at the foreign ministry in Rome with his Maltese colleague Zammit Dimech. Terzi described the meeting as “constructive” and marked by a spirit of “solidarity”, adding that on the issue of search and rescue at sea the two countries were working toward “strengthening operational coordination between port authorities and administrative structures”, stressing the importance of joint training programmes. At the same time, Terzi said, we must “find new formulas that allow greater European level operational ability when it comes to immigration”.
Conference on Arab Spring youth soon
The two ministers also discussed bilateral questions (electrical interconnection, radio/TV interference, participation in the Malta Expo, helicopter supply) along with international current events, starting with the Arab Spring transitions, reviewing themes such as regional security, energy and environmental protection. Italy and Malta, Terzi added, agree on promoting youth policies and “soon there will be a conference on youth within the context of the Union for the Mediterranean”.
“Special relations” between Italy and Malta
The Maltese minister pointed out that this was his first mission abroad since taking up his post, and spoke of “special relations” between Italy and Malta (four meetings already this year between authorities). Over recent years, Dimech underscored, “we have honed the concept of neighbor through an open communications channel at political, technical and administrative levels”.