Updated: Nov 16, 2020
US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper was in Malta today, holding talks with Prime Minister Robert Abela over a military agreement which would grant the US new powers impinging upon Malta’s neutrality as a sovereign state.
Known as the SOFA agreement, this deal would potentially allow American soldiers to be stationed in Malta and envisages a situation whereby U.S. courts will have jurisdiction over crimes committed by any military personnel who are on duty in our country.
Simply put, if an American soldier stationed in Malta commits a crime, Malta does not have the right to prosecute the offender in our courts. Instead he would be sent back to America to answer for his crimes there.
Last September, Malta was given one year to address its shortcomings after failing an anti-money laundering test by an international body called MONEYVAL.
The government is now facing increased pressure to sign the proposed SOFA agreement, allegedly in exchange for US support when it comes to protecting Malta from failing this crucial upcoming test.
If Malta fails the Moneyval assessment, it would spell tragedy for the country's already COVID stricken economy. Malta would be viewed as too ‘dodgy’ to do business with and much of the foreign investment we see right now would be left with no option but to pack up their bags and leave.
But should Malta really be surrendering its sovereignty to the US and betraying a neutrality clause within it’s constitution, just because money laundering and high level corruption was proven to be rampant under the previous administration ? Why should we be forced to betray our values, just because we were betrayed by our own politicians ?
Let us know what you think in the comments.