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Malta Foreign Relations

Malta's diplomatic and consular representation includes accreditation to 167 foreign countries and international organizations. Malta is host to 26 resident diplomatic missions, and 142 countries have non-resident diplomatic representation.

With its central location in the Mediterranean, at one of the southernmost points of the European Union, Malta has long viewed itself as a bridge between Europe and North Africa, particularly Libya, with which it historically has enjoyed close diplomatic and commercial ties. During the period of rebellion in Libya that began in February 2011, Malta played an important role in supporting evacuation of third-country nationals, coordinating humanitarian aid to the people of Libya, and providing general assistance to forces of nations involved in enforcement of UN Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973. Malta is an active participant in the United Nations, the Commonwealth, the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and various other international organizations.

In addition, Malta rejoined NATOs Partnership for Peace in 2008 shortly after national elections. In these fora, Malta has frequently expressed its concern for the peace and economic development of the Mediterranean region. The Nationalist Party government is continuing a policy of neutrality and nonalignment but in a Western context. The government desires close relations with the United States, with an emphasis on increased trade and private investment. U.S. Navy ships resumed liberty calls in 1992 and currently visit on a semi-regular basis.

Malta and the United States established full diplomatic relations upon Malta's independence in 1964; overall relations are currently active and close. The United States has been supportive of Malta's campaign to attract private investment, and several U.S. firms are operating in Malta. These include major hotels, manufacturing and repair facilities, and some offices servicing local and regional operations. In an effort to further boost trade relations, the United States and Malta signed a double taxation agreement in August 2008, which following U.S. Senate ratification came into force in January 2011. A refugee resettlement program, whereby over 750 third-country migrants have been resettled in the U.S. from Malta, remains in place.

Another landmark in U.S. Maltese relations was reached in December 2008 when Malta joined the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). This program allows citizens of certain countries to travel to the United States visa-free for tourist and business purposes for stays under 90 days.



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