Although the Nationalist Party had a poor environmental track record when it came to ODZ, it should be given the benefit of the doubt, according to Front Ħarsien ODZ.

Group spokesman James Debono told Times of Malta following a meeting with Opposition leader Simon Busuttil that civil society would judge the PN on “future action” it would take on environmental issues.

“We appreciate that the PN has taken a stand in favour of the environment but hope this is reflected in the future,” he said, highlighting the extension of development boundaries in 2006.

He added that the same was true for the government, and he hoped that proposals to build a private university on green land were shot down.

“Ultimately the issue of outside development zones should be a social pact between parties and civil society,” he said.

Reacting to Mr Debono’s reply to Times of Malta, Dr Busuttil said that if Times of Malta had any doubts about his “intentions”, it should join him at the national protest being organised on the proposed development.

Dr Busuttil said he was ready to take a step back on the issue and allow NGOs and civil society to take the lead.

“We are not looking for exposure on this issue, what matters to us is that the Zonqor development is stopped,” he said, adding that the Opposition had collectively replied to questions sent by the Front on t their personal position on the proposed development and the issue of ODZ.

Front spokesman Michael Briguglio made a second plea for the government to publish all documented agreements with the developer of the private university, as a transparent debate could not be held until this was done.

Asked what action the pressure group would take if the government did not heed its cries to stop the proposed construction, he said he hoped the government would stay true to its electoral mandate of “Malta for all”. However, if not it would continue piling on the pressure.

A national protest against ODZ developments is being held on June 20 in front of the new Parliamentary building at 10am.