Israel-malta Friction Denied

Foreign Ministry sources here denied that friction between Israel and Malta has reached crisis proportions but admitted that relations between Israel and the Island state in the Western Mediterranean have been strained for some months. The sources attributed the strain to the Malta government’s disappointment that economic and political aid they expected from Israel did not materialize.

They said that during Malta’s recent dispute with Britain, Israel was expected to mobilize political and financial support for it in the US and other countries where Jews live. The Israelis explained that they were straining their own resources to the maximum but the Maltese were not convinced and took offense, the Ministry sources said.

Until ten months ago, Israel was represented on Malta by a non-resident ambassador. A resident Israeli Ambassador, accredited to Valletta, Malta’s capital last year, apparently raised Maltese hopes of Israeli political support. The Ministry sources said there has been no further deterioration in relations and that the small technical aid given by Israel to some projects on the Island continue.

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