Sovereign Military Hospitaller
Order of St John of Jerusalem of
Rhodes and of Malta

Lieutenant of the Grand Master receives Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Antonio Tajani

10/01/2023

The Foreign Minister: “Longstanding collaboration with great future prospects”

The Lieutenant of the Grand Master, Fra’ John Dunlap, today received the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Antonio Tajani at the Magistral Palace in Rome.

The focus of the talks, which took place in an atmosphere of great cordiality, also attended by the Order of Malta’s Grand Chancellor Riccardo Paternò, was the excellent relations between the Italian Republic and the Order of Malta and the major crises marking this historic moment: the war in Ukraine and the violence exploding worldwide in many countries and specifically Iran, Syria, Afghanistan and Ethiopia.

In this context, the Order of Malta reminded the Foreign Minister that the Order will also participate in the International Conference in Munich this year with a panel on Religions and Diplomacy in Conflict Areas.

Minister Tajani and the Lieutenant of the Grand Master have strongly condemned the acts of violence and abuse against the weakest sections of society, primarily children and women. Fra’ John Dunlap expressed concern about “the serious human rights violations committed in some countries against defenceless civilians through discrimination, violence, torture and death sentences”.

“What we have with the Order of Malta is a longstanding collaboration with great future prospects”, said Minister Tajani, recalling the many partnerships in place, from health to development cooperation. “This collaboration will be further strengthened with new agreements to help people who are suffering and fleeing from wars,” the minister added.

Minister Tajani also announced his intention to appoint a special Foreign Affairs Envoy for the persecuted Christian minorities in the world, and said: “We will work together with the Order of Malta to reduce their suffering”. As the Lieutenant of the Grand Master Fra’ John Dunlap explained, the Order of Malta is active in numerous countries, and especially in the Nineveh region in Iraq, in protecting ethnic and religious minorities. The Lieutenant of the Grand Master illustrated the Order’s main institutional and diplomatic activities and Minister Tajani recalled the important role it plays in the international community for the promotion of interreligious dialogue and for the respect for human rights.

During the colloquium, Minister Tajani expressed his great appreciation for the many humanitarian initiatives the Order of Malta manages in the 120 countries in which it is present with its associations, its volunteer and relief corps with a deployment of some 150,000 doctors, nurses and volunteers.

The Minister dwelt on the rescue of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea, an activity that the Order of Malta and its Italian relief corps has been carrying out for over 15 years, thanks to bilateral agreements signed with Italian

institutions. The great commitment of the Order of Malta’s doctors and healthcare personnel during the pandemic was also mentioned.