Clinton thanks Malta for help during Libya crisis

AP News
Posted: Oct 18, 2011 5:12 AM
Clinton thanks Malta for help during Libya crisis

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited the Mediterranean island nation of Malta on Tuesday to thank Maltese authorities for their assistance during the crisis in Libya.

Clinton met with the Maltese prime minister and other officials in the capital of Valletta on Tuesday. Malta has been a key staging area for relief and evacuation efforts in Libya and has taken in numerous Libyan refugees.

Clinton encouraged the Maltese to continue assisting Libya's transitional leaders as they work to create a new government after years of oppression under longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi. "Malta's unique geography, history and expertise will make it a valued partner in this work," Clinton said.

She is only the second American secretary of state to visit Malta and the first to make an official solo trip. The only other secretary of state to visit Malta, James Baker, came in 1989 as part of former President George H.W. Bush's delegation to a summit with then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.