The government is engaging with the Council of Europe on the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder public inquiry, a spokesman said, though no comment was made about the three-month deadline given.

In a report on the state of the rule of law in Malta published in June, the Council of Europe called on the government to set up a public inquiry aimed at establishing whether the journalist’s death could have been prevented.

The council imposed a three-month deadline.

Contacted about the matter in a fresh attempt to find out whether the government would respect the council’s call, a spokesman for the Justice Ministry said “engagement with the Council of Europe is ongoing” but provided no further details.

“Announcements will be made in due course,” he said, without divulging any information on what the announcements entailed and when they would be made.

Questions on whether the government had discussed its position about the deadline with the council remained unanswered.

In recent weeks, government officials, including Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, have been increasingly coy when asked about the matter, saying legal advice was being sought about the impact of holding the public inquiry in parallel with an ongoing police investigation into the murder.

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But Foreign Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela surprised foreign journalists and activists last month when he said the government “will abide by the timing that the Council of Europe dictated”.

Since the minister’s comment, no other official statement on the matter has been made, with questions by Times of Malta remaining unanswered.

A spokeswoman from the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly said that no information can be provided. Sources privy to similar procedures explained that it is only the government that can divulge details about such talks as the council deems them confidential.

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