Your Excellency, President of the Republic of Tunisia,
members of the media.
Your Excellency, my dear friend President Essebsi, this historic state visit has given us the opportunity to reaffirm the long-standing friendship between the peoples of Malta and Tunisia.
The ongoing high-level exchanges between Malta and Tunisia give me confidence, that we are creating a model of respectful dialogue, between Mediterranean countries that share the same values and aspirations.
It was my pleasure to be in Tunisia on an official visit in 2017, when our countries celebrated fifty years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Malta and Tunisia.
However, the links between both of our nations go back a long way. We share a strong Mediterranean identity and history, and over the centuries the peoples of Malta and Tunisia have enjoyed a peaceful and prosperous friendship.
Moreover, alongside the consolidation of the excellent political relations between our countries, my visit in 2017 provided an opportunity to intensify the socio-economic connections among our respective peoples.
Dear Members of the Media,
The visit of His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Tunisia, to Malta, has created even more opportunities, to take these connections to another level of effectiveness.
The meetings held this morning, between my friend President Essebsi and myself, and our delegations, have provided another platform for constructive and insightful discussions.
I am pleased to note that cooperation between private entities and non-governmental organisations, from Malta and Tunisia, has also intensified.
During our meetings this morning, His Excellency President Essebsi and myself discussed various sectors of mutual interest, including trade; training and education; maritime cooperation; transshipment and logistics; ICT; tourism; the film industry; alternative energy; blockchain technology, amongst others.
In particular, let me mention our commitment to further collaborate, through the Mediterranean Tourism Foundation, to ensure that our respective tourism industry, will be catalyst for peace and prosperity between our countries and our region.
From our discussions, one can also conclude that there is strong political will, to enable our respective private sectors to explore other opportunities, from which both of our countries can benefit.
I must emphasise the enthusiasm, being shown by both our countries, to continue to find opportunities to form new partnerships, between our authorities, our respective business communities, cultural sectors, and civil society.
In fact, these partnerships are being reflected, today, by the signing of:
- The Agreed Minutes of the 11th Session of the Malta-Tunisia Joint Commission;
- The Memorandum of Understanding responding to the Development of Early Childhood;
- The Protocol of Cooperation in the area of Seniors;
- The Programme of Cultural Cooperation for the years 2019 to 2021; and
- The Agreement on Temporary Employment of Nationals of the Republic of Tunisia in the Republic of Malta and the Nationals of the Republic of Malta in the Republic of Tunisia.
These agreements constitute an important step forward in our bilateral relations. I am confident that further opportunities for cooperation in other areas of mutual interest will persist in the future.
I am also pleased to note that the Malta-Tunisia Joint Commission met yesterday and is renewing its efforts to create opportunities in a number of diverse areas, of mutual interest.
I must note that the work done by the Malta-Tunisia Joint Commission is a positive step, towards reaching the goals of sustainable development and inclusive prosperity.
President Essebsi and I also discussed the political situation of our region, and the active roles of both of our countries in the Union for the Mediterranean, and Western Mediterranean Forum, known as the 5+5, which met recently, in Malta, among other fora.
The Conference on Gender Equality, which will be held tomorrow, will be co-facilitated by the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies, at the University of Malta, the Embassy of the Republic of Tunisia, and my Office, is another example of how our shared vision of collaboration, to address regional issues such as women empowerment, is being put into practical action.
I must also mention the exhibition, which has been set up to commemorate our 51st Anniversary of excellent diplomatic and political relations between our two countries.
I believe that strengthening our social and economic ties is not only a pathway to shared prosperity, but also a means of continuing to build and develop sustainable contacts between our peoples.
In particular, I augur that we shall continue to emphasise the importance of including our children and young people, as essential contributors, to achieve sustainable peace and stability, alongside inclusive prosperity and holistic wellbeing, for the benefit of the peoples of Malta and Tunisia.