Sunday, 25 July 2010

Times: Malta and EU members reject Moscow Gay Pride request
Saturday, 17th July 2010 by Ivan Camilleri, Brussels

Malta has joined other EU members in refusing a formal request by Moscow's homosexual community to hold some of this year's gay pride activities at their embassies in Russia, where homosexuality is frowned upon.

The decision was taken following talks at ambassadorial level.

The Moscow Gay Pride - a gay manifestation being marked today also in the EU, including Malta - has been banned by the Russian authorities for the past five years. It was marred by violent incidents and arrests when the organisers went ahead with their demonstration without the official permit.

This year, to prevent a repetition of past incidents, the organisers of the Moscow Gay Pride sought the formal support of some EU member states represented in Moscow. A number of ambassadors had initially said they would be willing to support the event but later changed their stand after talks with their EU colleagues stationed in Moscow, the organisers, who raised the issue in the European Parliament, said.
Apart from Malta, the organisers had also approached the ambassadors of the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

Contacted by The Times, a Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman confirmed Malta had rejected the Russian gay community's request.

"The request was not whether Malta supports the Moscow Gay Parade but whether the premises of the Embassy of Malta can be used for the purposes of holding a reception and a seminar to promote homosexuality and the Moscow Gay Pride," the spokesman said.
"The Embassy of Malta replied that, in its view, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations did not allow the use of diplomatic premises for such purposes, except for fulfilling its diplomatic function," the spokesman added.

Ironically, just a few days ago, the British High Commission in Malta started displaying a gay pride flag in the lobby of its offices in Ta' Xbiex for the duration of Gay Pride Week, being commemorated in Malta this week, as a symbol of support for the equality cause.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]

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