“Diplomacy remains the best tool for resolving conflicts” – Minister Evarist Bartolo

Reading Time: 3 minutes

“A lot of issues today can’t be solved by one country alone whoever the country is. So, whether we like it or not, we are condemned to working together.”

Malta’s Minister for Foreign and European Affairs Evarist Bartolo, was speaking to Turkish News Agency Anadolu, prior to the Antalya Diplomacy Forum on the Eastern Mediterranean. 

The Antalya Diplomacy Forum has seen a high turnout from the leaders and foreign ministers of different countries.

Mentioning “the need for a conference of the Eastern Mediterranean,” Bartolo said the countries in the region can discuss economic development, issues of security and energy as well as human rights and culture in this conference.

He said Turkey is involved in the Maltese economy to a great extent, with “Turkish companies have performed well good quality work and on time” in Malta’s two major ports and a number of big construction projects. He also expressed his wish for further bilateral developments in the field of tourism.

Emphasizing the significance of dialogue, Bartolo added: “If we are to solve conflicts, enemies have to sit down to talk to each other; and then become partners.” “The enemies of the past can become partners of the future.”

He said that Malta gave birth to the International Law of the Sea and that Malta remains in favour of the peaceful resolution of any cross-border and maritime disputes over oil and gas at sea, through negotiations and within the framework of the law and not through the use of force. 

Minister Bartolo held that Malta also believes that the United Nations should not be undermined by weakening its resolutions by changing realities on the ground. 

In this context, he added that if there is a need for a reality check to see if they are still relevant and if there is a need to change the resolutions they should be changed by a process within the United Nations and not through unilateral actions which violate UN resolutions. 

Minister Bartolo concluded that diplomacy, patience, the ability to understand an adversary, the pursuit of the common interest, compromise, and respect for each other.

The forum was attended by 256 young people in total, including undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students from more than 50 universities, and two youth forums were organized.

As the first international forum since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Antalya Diplomacy Forum has started with full compliance with coronavirus measures, with an average of 8,000 PCR tests being conducted every day.

EU, Turkey should keep their promises to each other

Meanwhile, speaking to Anadolu News Agency, Minister Bartolo said that the European Union and Turkey can overcome their problems through open talks, but should keep their promises, and respect each other for a decent relationship.

Bartolo said: “When it comes to the European Union and Turkey, there should be real respect for each other, and not playing around, if we promise something, that we should deliver, but this should be also from both sides.”

He said the relations between the EU and Turkey “have been very complicated over the years,” and added: “I still think that strategically, it is in the interest of both the European Union and Turkey (for the country) to join the European Union.”

Underlining that despite some areas of conflict, there are also areas of cooperation between the EU and Turkey.

Malta Government / Anadolu / Reuters

Photo DOI