Walter Balzan writes:

My friendship with ambassador Joseph Cassar goes back to more than three decades during which we shared both enjoyable as well as unpleasant circumstances. It was a friendship cemented on genuine and sincere mutual respect.

Having had the privilege of working alongside him in the diplomatic corps for a number of years I have benefitted immensely from his profound analytical mind and his practical assessment and resolution of sensitive and complex issues.

Joe was a man who treasured his principles and, in seeking solutions, would always ensure that, under no circumstances, would his principles be compromised.

I can attest for the excellent reputation, which he earned with foreign diplomats throughout his diplomatic career and particularly during his tenure as Permanent Representative of Malta to the United Nations in New York, for his eloquent speeches and articulate manner in which he exposed his arguments to ensure that Malta’s concerns were satisfacto-rily addressed.

Such was the reputation he enjoyed within the diplomatic circles that not few were the occasions when Joe’s views and advice were sought even by other senior foreign diplomats. 

It was not surprising that at the end of his term as Permanent Representative of Malta to the United Nations in New York in 1996, Joe was immediately engaged as a visiting professor at the renowned St John’s University of New York to lecture on international affairs. 

Besides being a highly-rated intellectual, Joe was also endowed with exceptional communication and writing skills and, at the end of his diplomatic career, he undertook a number of assignments which entailed significant research, narration and editing.

This was yet another area in which Joe excelled.

Having a conversation with Joe was always a learning experience. He was a good listener and an excellent tutor.

His pleasant personality facilitated his relations with colleagues and friends alike.

I do not recall having ever heard Joe express a negative word about anybody. He always had a good word to say about others and a very positive approach towards life. It was a pleasure to share a conversation with him. 

I visited Joe a couple of times recently and used to have lengthy telephone conversations with him on a number of issues.

Typical of him, he accepted his ailing health with courage and dignity.

Malta has lost a high-level intellectual and a seasoned diplomat who did his utmost to raise the country’s political, economical and cultural profile wherever he served. His family has lost an exemplary father. I have lost a very dear friend.

My deepest sympathies go to all his family who he loved so much but particularly to his dear wife Tania, his daughters Mateja and Valentina and his grandchildren.

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