Updated 3.20 p.m.

Admiral James Stavridis, the commander of US forces in Europe and Nato's Supreme Allied Commander Europe, this afternoon thanked Malta for having assisted Nato aircraft which needed to make emergency landings in Malta.

Admiral Stavridis arrived in Malta this morning and toured the AFM maritime base at Haywharf, where he boarded one of two patrol boats bought from the US with American government assistance.

Speaking before meeting the Prime Minister at the Auberge de Caastille, Admiral Stavridis praised Malta for its 'competence' when faced with the events of the past few months in Libya and expressed gratitude to the island for having received evacuees. 

Dr Gonzi said that the US and Malta enjoyed good relations, and Malta was grateful to US assistance in the areas of illegal immigration and military cooperation, particularly in the training of Maltese officers.

Eight French aircraft, and two planes each from the US Air Force and the Danish air force have made emergency landings in Malta since operations over Libya started. 

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