• Short Summary

    Mikhail Smirnovsky, the Soviet ambassador in London, arrived in Malta on Monday (4 December). There?

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    Mikhail Smirnovsky, the Soviet ambassador in London, arrived in Malta on Monday (4 December). There was speculation that his visit, which included talks with Prime Minister Dom Mintoff, involved a fresh attempt to establish a permanent Soviet Embassy in Malta.

    A similar request was rejected several years ago. But since then The People's Republic of China has been allowed to set up an embassy. China made an interest-free loan of nearly 17-million pounds sterling available to Malta in April.

    SYNOPSIS: Malta's Lace airport--focus for political comment on the Island on Monday.

    It centred around the arrival of Mikhail Smirnovsky, the Soviet Ambassador in London. He was paying a four-day visit.

    His trip included an appointment with Prime Minister Dom Mintoff. The matters under discussion were not revealed, but observers connected the visit with the Soviet Union's desire to establish a permanent embassy on Malta. A formal request was made several years ago, but was rejected.

    Since then, however, Malta's attitudes to some countries have changed. Mr. Mintoff, after coming into power, cooled Malta's relationship with Britain. At one time it seemed British force would quit the island completely. Malta has also become very friendly with Libya and the Eastern Bloc. Even more significant is the fact that The People's Republic of China has now been allowed to set up a permanent embassy. China gave Malta an interest-free loan amounting to nearly seventeen million pounds sterling. Political observers are now waiting to see whether Ambassador Smirnovsky's visit will result in a Soviet Embassy on Maltese soil. Few countries have full-scale diplomatic representation in Malta. For most, Malta is the responsibility of their Italian embassies.

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    Media URN:
    Reuters - Including Visnews
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    Available on request
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