On Tuesday, 10 March Estonia established diplomatic relations with the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta – more commonly known as the Order of Malta – through an exchange of diplomatic notes on Tuesday 10 March.
The exchange took place at the order’s headquarters in Rome between Estonian Ambassador to Italy Celia Kuningas-Saagpakk and Secretary General for Foreign Affairs and Ambassador for the Order of Malta to Italy Stefano Ronca. Ambassador Kuningas-Saagpakk also met with the order’s Grand Chancellor Albrecht von Boeselager and Receiver of the Common Treasure János Count Esterházy de Galántha. During her meeting with Grand Chancellor von Boeselager, Ambassador Kuningas-Saagpakk discussed encouraging bilateral relations as well as issues related to preventing the spread of coronavirus.
The Order of Malta is a sovereign institution dedicated primarily to humanitarian activities that maintains relations with other states. It is a Catholic lay religious order, which currently maintains diplomatic relations with 110 countries and the European Union. It also has permanent observer status at the United Nations.
“Establishing diplomatic relations with the Order of Malta paves the way for cooperation between us both bilaterally and as part of international organisations, and will contribute to the development of our relations with the Catholic world in general,” Ambassador Kuningas-Saagpakk said. “It also gives us the opportunity to work with an influential charity organisation in the fields of humanitarian aid and development partnerships.”
The Order of Malta undertakes international humanitarian work and is an observer in a number of international organisations in which it is accredited ambassadors, including UNESCO, the UNHCR and WHO. The order is also a partner to the International Red Cross.
The Estonian government approved the establishment of diplomatic relations with the Order of Malta at its session on 30 January.
Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
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