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The XXI century will be a сentury either of total all-embracing crisis or of moral and spiritual healing that will reinvigorate humankind. It is my conviction that all of us - all reasonable political leaders, all spiritual and ideological movements, all  faiths - must help in this transition to a triumph of humanism and justice, in making the XXI century a century of a new human renaissance.

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13 December 2019


Mr. President,
Distinguished Guests,
Thirty years ago, we were given a chance to start all over. 
All of us, and everywhere, we had a chance to put an end to a history of conflicts, to a history of bloodshed, of indoctrinations, of injustice and poverty.
Thirty years ago, we wanted to invest in human relations, in dialogue, in tolerance … in peace.
Suddenly thirty years ago, what seemed fantasy for decades became a reality … a reality we could have made our own. What seemed hostile back in time, started to emerge as actually an opportunity. We started to look at each other in a different way … we realised what one of my childhood favourite singers Sting, said in his lyrics:
‘The Russians loved their children too’.
The whole world … from all walks of life became inspired. We lived the joy of a future of friendship… everyone hailed the new times … we all made our own the vision of peace on Earth, that finally, finally the moment has arrived where, to borrow from the Prophet Isiah, humanity was going to
‘beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more’
How well the famous rock group, the Scorpions captured this new-found human hope with their words
‘And did you ever think
That we could be so close, like brothers?’
The best part of it was that Malta, my country was involved! I was in my early teenage years when President Gorbachev and the late President Bush convened in the tempestuous waters of Malta. I remember distinctly this meeting, the optimism, the excitement in the air.
We Maltese were proud. We were not proud because Malta was chosen for the venue. We were proud because in our own way, with our limited resources we were contributing to the end of the Cold War. We were happy because we were afraid of the Cold War. We felt tired torn between the East and the West, between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. This is why we embraced Neutrality as the backbone of our Constitution. This is why, till this very day Malta has this strong allergy of militarised politics. 
This political miracle — for there is no other way that can describe this development of thirty years ago — was the result of two elements.
The first was the courage of new thinking by a visionary man who singlehandedly dared beyond every expectation to do what none other had the nerve to consider: President Gorbachev. He at times alone, at times doubted and discredited, seduced the world with his openness and determination.
The second was the recognition by two political giants, President George Bush and President Gorbachev, of the politics of good will, the politics of persuasion, the politics at the service of peace.
Thirty years later, the global economy grew multi-fold while more than one billion people were lifted out of extreme poverty. 
This is the dividend of the end of the Cold War. This is the impact, Mr. President you and President Bush, had on the world. The only other time the world witnessed such optimism and enthusiasm was when WWII was declared over.
It is these thoughts in my mind that made me, as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion of Malta decide to commemorate the USA-USSR Meeting in Malta in December of 1989. This commemoration a week ago was not about Malta, it was about the good that comes out when political will takes over political mistrust and seizes the opportunity of time.
I, as a member of the new generation of politicians, am first to admit that we as an international Community, face significant challenges … these are not just military … not just nuclear warheads, the threat of new arms races, of proliferation of weapons … but extend also to phenomena which we thought we would never have to speak about again, the spectre of intolerance, of hate speech, of nationalism … of phenomena that lead to global devastation during WWII.
And if this were not enough, we are failing to show determination in overcoming common concerns which threaten our very own survival like Climate Change, the eradication of poverty and so many other issues. And rather than the strengthening of multilateral cooperation, we now see attempts to erode this process, we seem to be preferring a ’go it alone’ attitude, unilateralism, of belief in military solutions and this at the expense of determined political dialogue, of seeking to persuade each other not at gun-point but with arguments, through diplomacy, by finding compromises.
I conclude with a citation from President Gorbachev himself. During the joint press conference when he was asked by a journalist whether the Cold War was over, President Gorbachev replied:
‘This is just the beginning. We are just at the very beginning of our road, long road to a long-lasting, peaceful period.’
I believe that we are still on that road. That we have to invest more in peace. I also believe that it is now up to us, the new generation of politicians to find it in ourselves and have the courage and determination to demilitarise politics and come together to uphold the common good. As the preceding generation ended the Cold War, so it is now up to us to ensure that it will only continue to be relevant in history books.
12 December 2019