Britain's Defence Secretary Lord Carrington left Malta tonight after 24 hours of talks with the new malta government, led by Prime Minister Dom Mintoff.
GV Plane taxiing
MS Waiting military officers and officials
MS Plane taxiing
SV 'Batman' signals plane in
MLS RAF flag on plans
MCU G/Capt. Easter-brook boards plane
MS to CU car with Carrington - Carrington alights and greeted by Mintoff
MS Mintoff and Carrington leave building and enter car - tar leaves
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Background: Britain's Defence Secretary Lord Carrington left Malta tonight after 24 hours of talks with the new malta government, led by Prime Minister Dom Mintoff. The negotiations concern Mr. Mintoff's request for a revision of the 1964 agreement, under which Britain gives Malta five million pounds sterling a year in return for defence facilities on the island.
Britain needs the bases there in its support for NATO in the Mediterranean. Failure to reach an agreement between Malta and Britain, could open the door to Libya. That country wants to see Malta become neutral and free of political and military influences from outsiders. Libya has offered economic aid to Malta, with no strings attached.
If the defence agreement with Britain is not renewed, NATO will move out of the island, possibly to Naples or Sicily.
SYNOPSIS: Britain's Defence Secretary, Lord Carrington, arrived in Malta on Monday for talks with the new Malta government on the future of Britain's defence arrangements on the island. Originally scheduled to fly to Malta last Wednesday, that trip was postponed at the last minute.
Lord Carrington was invited to the private residence of Prime Minister Dom Mintoff, where they held nearly two hours of informal talks. Hard bargaining was due to begin on Tuesday. The discussions involve Mr. Mintoff's request for a revision of the 1964 agreement, under which Britain gives Malta five million sterling a year in return for defence facilities.
Britain still needs the bases on the island in its support for NATO in the Mediterranean. It is thought that Prime Minister Mintoff is asking for more than thirteen million sterling a year in exchange for Britain's continued use of the bases on the island.