The President of Malta

Diskors minn E.T. George Vella, President ta’ Malta, fil-Jum Nazzjonali tar-Repubblika Għarbija tal-Eġittu, 21 ta’ Lulju 2022, (Diskors bl-Ingliż)

Your Excellency Khaled Mohamed Sameh Anis, Ambassador for the Republic of Egypt to Malta

Honourable Minister,

Honourable Members of Parliament,

Excellencies,

Distinguished Guests,

It is indeed a great pleasure to be here again with you today. I thank His Excellency Sameh Anis for this warm welcome and invitation to share with you, and the Egyptian community in Malta, the festivities of such an important day for the people of the Arab Republic of Egypt.

The global health emergency created by the Covid pandemic, and resulting ancillary problems, such as the lack of equitable vaccine distribution, brought to light the fragility of our international dialogue and the need of a new humanitarian and sustainable approach. As we slowly move forward towards normality and the renewal of our economic industries, as a country we remain vigilant and cautious.

More recently, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is a reminder that our bilateral and multilateral relations are directly responsible for the development of a sustainable and peaceful world as opposed to a divided and belligerent future.

Lest we forget, we are eight years away from reaching the internationally agreed targets falling under the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030. As part of our respective geopolitical roles, both Malta and the Arab Republic of Egypt can contribute to promote a more just and sustainable globe. Furthermore, Malta’s successful election as a non-permanent member to the UN Security Council for 2023-2024 will be another opportunity to further promote my country’s vision of tolerance, dialogue, and peace. Our work programme is, besides other areas, focused on promoting the Children and Armed Conflict portfolio and the Women, Peace and Security Agenda. Furthermore, Malta is also committed to highlight the impact of climate change on international stability, whilst emphasising the links between literacy and international peace. From a global perspective, Malta looks at the Arab Republic of Egypt as an important player in the development of stability, peace and prosperity in the Middle East, particularly the much sought-after peaceful realisation of the Israel-Palestinian question. The two‑State solution remains the only path to ensuring that Palestinians and Israelis can both realize their legitimate aspirations, living side‑by‑side in peace and security, based on the 1967 borders, and with Jerusalem as the capital of both States.

Esteemed guests,

Since establishing diplomatic relations in 1965, both our respective countries have undergone significant political, economic, and social changes. I am therefore pleased to note that exchanges at a bilateral and multilateral level continued to flourish throughout the years and expanded into new areas of cooperation. Collaboration in water management and education are two important examples which are proving to be fruitful for our respective peoples. Malta is proud to host over six hundred Egyptian nationals working and living in our islands. From a multilateral perspective, Malta is pleased to observe closer cooperation between the Arab Republic of Egypt and the EU, especially in the field of sustainability, foreign policy, security, migration, and mobility. I believe that sustained dialogue will further complement the Egyptian Government’s Hayah Kareema (Decent life initiative) whereby a multidisciplinary approach is contributing to reduce inequality and poverty.

As two littoral states on the Mediterranean Sea, Malta and the Arab Republic of Egypt, are blessed with this historically and ecologically important source of food, transport, energy, and people-to-people exchanges. For centuries, the Mediterranean provided us with infinite opportunities of trade and artisan exchanges. Today, the Mediterranean is home to millions of youths eager to develop their full potential and build sustainable, ecologically friendly, and inclusive societies. As our lives continue to revolve around forward-looking developments, and an ever-increasing need to shift from a dependence on fossil fuel to alternative sources of energy, youths and creative innovation provide us a new frame of mind and an impetus for significant global change.

The four editions of the World Youth Forum in Sharm el Sheikh managed to bring together thousands of participants from around the globe. They are testimony to the Arab Republic of Egypt’s vision for youth participation in decision-making and international relations. Upon the invitation by President el-Sisi to address this year’s edition, I spoke through the internet about the imperative need for young people in the region to harbour noble sentiments of tolerance, dialogue, and peace, as opposed to sustaining cultures feeding on hate, xenophobia, and exclusion.

Furthermore, the proactive approach adopted by the Anna Lindh Foundation, in Alexandria, continues to promote an inclusive approach for youths, and a positive force to significantly influence world leaders and decision makers. I am therefore pleased to note that in light of the UN’s Climate Change Conference (COP27), which is taking place in Egypt in November this year, the Anna Lindh Foundation has on 14th June launched the #ALFClimateSeries campaign. It is interesting to note the important focus that is being made on marine life, which is threatened on a daily basis by tons and tons of single use plastic. Furthermore, the #ALFClimateseries is also promoting the importance of supporting civil society and start-ups in finding alternatives and environmental solutions to combat climate change in the Mediterranean region.

To conclude, Excellency, distinguished guests, I invite you to raise your glasses for a toast to the health of the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, His Excellency Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil el-Sisi, and to the excellent relations between the people of Malta and the people of the Arab Republic of Egypt.

Thank you for listening.

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