U.S. Department of State Country Reports on Terrorism 2006 - Malta

Although the Government of Malta has expressed political will, counterterrorism efforts in Malta remained in a nascent stage and are in need of development, enlargement, training, and financial assistance. Deputy Prime Minister Tonio Borg acknowledged this during his September visit to the United States.

In February, Malta's Prevention of Money Laundering Regulations was extended to include "financing of terrorism," which criminalized terrorist financing and imposed additional obligations, namely customer due diligence, record keeping, reporting, and training procedures. Like other EU countries, Malta has not yet adopted the Directive but was already in substantial compliance with the enumerated requirements. The Government of Malta made significant strides to reform and regulate the banking laws, most significantly, ending its offshore investment regime. The Ministry of Finance's Financial Intelligence and Analysis Unit continued to expand and upgrade its capabilities.

The Maltese government was concerned about the proliferation and trafficking of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in and through its territory. A particular vulnerability is Malta's Freeport which transshipped approximately 1.2 million containers per year. Most of the containers through Freeport were heading to, or coming from, nations along the North African littoral. Through the Export Control and Border Security assistance program, the United States has for several years provided training and advanced equipment that have increased Maltese authorities' capability to monitor what passes through its ports. The Maltese have seized many shipments of stolen and counterfeit goods as a direct outcome of the U.S. assistance. Malta and the United States agreed in October on the text for a bilateral Proliferation Security Initiative Ship Boarding Agreement. After Malta and the United States sign the agreement, which is set to occur in March 2007, the Maltese Parliament must approve legislation for it to enter into force.

Technology, funding, and training of Maltese agencies contributed to improved port security and the ability to inspect goods transiting the Freeport and Malta International Airport. With Malta's geographic location between northern Africa and the European mainland, Malta could become increasingly attractive to terrorist organizations seeking entry into Europe.


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