Malta Prime Minister Dom Mintoff, who at the weekend called off last-ditch talks in London on the island's military bases, told a youth rally in Malta on Sunday that the island would face hard times unless a last minute reconciliation is achieved.
SV INT. Conference Mintoff arrives & crowd chant his name
SV Crowd applaud
SV Mintoff on platform
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SV Delegates laughing and applauding
Maltese Prime Minister Dom Mintoff arrived to an enthusiastic show of support at his party's Youth League rally on Sunday.
Mr. Mintoff came to speak at the rally after calling off a weekend visit to London, for crucial talks about the British withdrawal from Malta -- now reaching the point of no return. Reports following an exchange of messages between the two sides indicated they still couldn't reach agreement on the rent to be paid for the use of Malta's military bases. Britain and her North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies have offered fourteen million pounds a year. But the Maltese are holding out for an annual rent of eighteen million pounds. Unless these terms were met, Mr. Mintoff had only one message for the British. They should get out, he told the rally in a brief snatch of English.
The enthusiasm wasn't dampened when Mr. Mintoff went on to warn that the Maltese face "severe hardship" if no agreement is reached with Britain. But, he added, Malta was not going to accept the presence of foreign troops without proper recompense.
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Background: Malta Prime Minister Dom Mintoff, who at the weekend called off last-ditch talks in London on the island's military bases, told a youth rally in Malta on Sunday that the island would face hard times unless a last minute reconciliation is achieved.
So the deadlock over the rent to be paid for the military bases continues. Malta has demanded an annual payment of GBP18 million sterling a year, whereas the best Britain and her North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies can offer is GBP14 million sterling.
Failing agreement on Malta's terms, Mr. Mintoff's youth rally message to the British was an unequivocal "Get out! Get out!" -- one of several English interjections in a predominantly Maltese speech. The Prime Minister's speech roused Youth League members to an enthusiastic response.