Honourable Leader of the Opposition,
Honourable Members of Parliament,
It is my pleasure to be here with you this evening, celebrating the National day of the State of Qatar. Malta and Qatar have enjoyed excellent bilateral ties since 1975.
The opening of Malta’s Embassy in Doha and the frequent exchanges at the highest levels over the years, in particular in recent months, are a testament to this.
I had the pleasure to visit the beautiful country of Qatar on a State Visit last June. I want to once again take this opportunity to express my gratitude for the outstanding hospitality that was afforded to me and my delegation.
During my State Visit to Qatar, I could verify the joint commitment of our two countries to intensify our bilateral relations further and to extend our friendly dialogue on issues of common interests.
In this regard, I am very pleased that our countries will continue to add to the already robust corpus of agreements, as we extend our cooperation beyond the political field and venture into economic, investment, energy, education, and culture.
Strong collaboration, in fact, already exists in tourism, construction and hospitality just to mention a few. Qatar has always proved to be a reliable partner for Maltese investors.
In a time when conflicts are severely impacting global trade, we find in Qatar a stable and safe partner to work with, most especially in the area of energy resources.
Our ultimate aim is that of enhancing more people-to-people ties and contacts as we truly believe that this is the best way to solidify and cement our bond further. We are therefore looking forward to the possibility of the resumption of direct flights between Malta and Qatar.
As we speak, and this week in particular, all eyes are on Qatar.
The architecturally outstanding stadia as well as the flawless organisation of the World Cup is the best package that the hundreds of thousands of visitors that are flocking to Qatar need, to make their stay enjoyable and memorable.
I have to confess that I do not know much about football. It is evident however, that this is a sport that brings together families and countries from around the globe, to celebrate in a spirit of brotherhood and friendship while competing within the framework of a set of rules that are rigorously implemented while supervised electronically.
This is the same resolve adopted by Qatar when engaging on the multilateral level. A case in point is the European Union. Recent high-level exchanges have led to deeper cooperation on a wide array of sectors namely energy, climate, and digitalisation.
The themes of discussion are in line with the aims of Qatar’s 2030 National Vision as well as the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. To this effect, Malta welcomes and supports the recent steps taken by the European Union to facilitate further mobility and exchanges between EU and Qatari citizens.
Furthermore, Malta supports fully more engagement with Qatar through the dialogue between the EU and the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC). May the momentum built during the past year flourish into a voice of dialogue, peace, and security.
Malta, like Qatar, is an ardent supporter of multilateral dialogue. We believe that a rules-based international order should always prevail in all circumstances and that all countries should be considered as equal, irrelevant of geography, size and economy.
Malta is now fully geared to start serving on the United Nations Security Council for the coming two years. It is our aim to uphold and implement the principles enshrined in the UN Charter as we consider them to be timeless and universal.
I am certain that with the support of Qatar which has served diligently in this role in the recent past, we can all work together to ensure a world where just peace prevails over acts of war, greed, and selfishness.
Before concluding, I wanted to send my best wishes to His Excellency Mr Ali Saad Al-Kharji, the Qatari Ambassador to Malta whom I was pleased to meet again during my visit to Qatar and wish him and his family all good health.
Distinguished Guests, I now invite you all to raise your glasses and toast to the health of the Emir of the State of Qatar, His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and to the long-lasting friendship that exists between our Peoples.