The war in Ukraine was among the topics that were discussed today in a one-day meeting of heads of state, known as the Arriolos Malta 2022.
In his concluding remarks, President George Vella said the war in Ukraine brought with it the far-reaching consequences it brought on all our countries, and the international community in general, not least its effects on the energy sector, the increase in prices of commodities, and the destabilizing effects on our economies.
“I take this opportunity to reiterate my direct condemnation of this unjustified and unexcused war on Ukraine by Russia. No words are enough to condemn this atrocious lack of respect for international law and the lack of respect for national sovereignty,” said the President.
Vella highlighted the disturbing developments in Malta’s immediate neighbourhood, the Mediterranean, and stressed the need for the international community to keep these developments on its agenda. “I brought to the table the issue of irregular migration on the Central Mediterranean route and repeated my calls for solidarity with the frontline countries to be put into practice,” said Vella.
Later, during the second working session we discussed ways we can and should reduce global disparities and social injustices. “We had a close look at the situation within the EU, and we also reflected on its role in addressing disparities on a global level. In my intervention, I elaborated on the importance of effective Development policies, the role of women and young people in ensuring access to basic needs such as food, health, education, energy, and mobility”.
In this context, reference was also made to the courage and determination shown by women in Iran, fighting against repression to obtain basic rights and fundamental freedoms.
During both ssessions we spoke in an open and sincere way, as one would do with trusted partners, said Vella.
“While we may not have found immediate solutions to the threats and challenges around us, I am sure that the concerns and proposals that we exchanged between us, made a great contribution to understanding each other’s positions and perspectives.”
The Italian news agency Ansa reported that, during his stay of a few hours in Malta, the Italian President Sergio Mattarella met with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier, with whom he discussed the differences that currently exist regarding the EU’s energy policy.
“We want to mitigate the consequences of increases in energy costs on the lives of households and businesses,” Ansa reports Mattarella as saying.
The Italian Head of State added: “In front of those who make energy an instrument of international pressure and speculation, the European Union is called to react with a sense of community and solidarity”.
Regarding protests by women in Iran, Mattarella said that the force of human rights is unstoppable. The protests began after the death in police custody last month of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini who was accused of breaking the Asian country’s strict dress codes.
“The force of European values in the defense of rights, freedom and democracy is unstoppable, as the situation in Iran shows,” Mattarella said at the Arraiolos United for Europe meeting about Malta.
“Therefore we must equip ourselves with adequate instruments. A common foreign and defense policy for the EU is indispensable”.
Dozens of people, mostly women, were killed in a crackdown on the protests that began after Amini’s death on 16 September.