During his visit to the United Nations in New York for the opening session of the General Assembly, the Grand Chancellor, Riccardo Paternò di Montecupo, held a number of bilateral meetings, with the Foreign Ministers of the State of the Palestine, the Republic of The Gambia, the Republic of South Sudan, the Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, the Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis and with the Secretary General of the League of Arab States.
With Minister Riyad al-Maliki, Foreign Affairs Minister of the State of Palestine, on 20 September, the Grand Chancellor reviewed the state of bilateral relations as well as the situation in the Palestinian Territories and the assistance of the Order of Malta to the Palestinian people with particular regard to the operations of the Holy Family Hospital in Bethlehem.
The Grand Chancellor also had an exchange of views with the Foreign Minister of the Republic of The Gambia, Mahmoud Tangara, on 20 September, on the regional situation in the Sahel and West Africa. They also signed a Protocol on establishing bilateral diplomatic relations.
The meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of South Sudan, James Morgan Pitia, held on 21 September, was focused on the state of bilateral relations, including the humanitarian activities carried out by the Order of Malta and its organizations in South Sudan. The Grand Chancellor and the Foreign Minister also agreed on practical ways to improve and facilitate the diplomatic relations between the Order of Malta and the Republic of South Sudan.
The Grand Chancellor met with Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, on 21 September. They exchanged views on the international situation, the perspectives of the current session of the General Assembly and other issues of common interest.
The Grand Chancellor met on 22 September with the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit. The Grand Chancellor recalled that the Order entertains diplomatic relations with a number of member States of the League and expressed their interest in establishing a relationship with the League itself and in expanding diplomatic relations with other member States. The Secretary-General of the League of Arab States expressed his readiness to support this process.
With the Foreign Minister of Saint Christopher and Nevis, Denzil Douglas, the Grand Chancellor reviewed possible areas of bilateral cooperation and agreed to keep contact with a view to exploring the possibility of opening official relations.