12 October 2005

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Business Today

Frendo shoots down US ambassador on airspace rights

James Debono

Foreign Minister Michael Frendo on Monday categorically denied that Malta has granted any airspace rights to the USA, contrary to claims made by newly appointed US ambassador Molly Bordonaro.
Speaking during TV programme Int X’Tahseb, the foreign minister shot down the claim that Malta granted “some air space rights” to the USA.
According to Frendo, Malta only grants “permission to individual requests” from countries whose military aircraft would be flying through Malta’s flight information region.
But he denied that Malta has granted any blanket clearance for military aircraft of any country to over-fly Malta’s flight information region, which measures 1,000km by 200km stretching over a large area of the Mediterranean.
Frendo insists that the US has only been granted permission rather than an automatic right to over-fly this zone.
During the programme, hosted by MaltaToday managing editor Saviour Balzan, both Leo Brincat and Michael Frendo agreed that Malta should strive for warmer relations with the US.
Brincat refrained from taking a position on the Maltese government decision to sell the Ta’ Qali counting hall to the US government, saying that the MLP will be studying the issue before the matter is discussed in parliament.

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