The prime minister of Malta, Dr Joseph Muscat, has said the Commonwealth is essential to both small and large member states.
He was speaking after his meeting with the Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland, who is on an official visit to Malta.
“The Commonwealth is a collection of small states with larger states and its significance is to both of them,” said Prime Minister Muscat. “It helps larger states have more influence, but it also helps smaller states tap into resources, know-how, capabilities that are out of reach for them and I think that is where the crucial role of the Commonwealth lies.”
Dr Muscat has been the Commonwealth’s chair-in-office for the past two years after Malta hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in November 2015.
Speaking about his tenure as chair-in-office, the prime minister said, “It has shown me that the Commonwealth is essential, really and truly. It is not superfluous, it is actually a very valid instrument that is so much important, especially to smaller communities. I think Patricia has done a great job and will continue to be doing a great job.”
He will hand over the position to Britain when it hosts CHOGM in London next April.
“The main thing that I would like to have developed is that of equality. The need to promote equality within our societies, I think that is the mainstay of the next CHOGM.”
During the meeting, the Secretary-General Scotland updated Prime Minister Muscat on her recent trip to parts of the Caribbean which have been destroyed by category 5 hurricanes. They discussed the mudslides in Sierra Leone and floods in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka as well as climate change, regenerative development to build resilience, trade, gender equality and CHOGM 2018.