Foreign Minister Michael Frendo on Wednesday asked the Australian government to consider resettling a number of refugees from Malta.

Dr Frendo made this request - which the Australian government is considering - during bilateral talks in Canberra with his Australian counterpart Alexander Downer.

Dr Frendo thanked Mr Downer, on behalf of the Australian government, for its continuous and long lasting support to the various Maltese communities situated in various cities around the Australian territory.

"We feel that our focus should now be extended from the welfare of Maltese migrants to closer political and economic ties with countries of Maltese migration," said Dr Frendo, adding that "this link remains a catalyst source for future growth of trade, investment and closer political relations".

Mr Downer said Australia's immigration policy has consistently welcomed migrants from Malta as "experience has shown us that the Maltese communities in Australia are among the most integrated immigrant communities all over the Australian territory".

During the meeting, Dr Frendo briefed Mr Downer on Malta's leading role in the Commonwealth Action Programme on Digital Divide and the progress registered since the November CHOGM held in Malta, where the heads of government had issued a declaration on Networking The Commonwealth For Development, focusing in particular on the use of ICTs as a tool for development in Commonwealth countries.

The two ministers also discussed other issues of bilateral interest, and international affairs including the Middle East and Iraq, WTO issues, EU-Australia relations, trade and the recent cartoon controversy.

Dr Frendo is on a six-day visit in Australia. On Wednesday evening he was present at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne representing Malta as Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth.

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