The US embassy has offered to once again step in and help Maltese investigators probing the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
In a statement issued on the two-year anniversary of Ms Caruana Galizia’s car bomb murder, the US embassy said it was ready to support the Maltese investigation "if requested by Maltese authorities".
Agents from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation were flown in to Malta to assist local police investigators within hours of the October 2017 murder. Sources have said their technical expertise proved pivotal in identifying the three men who stand accused of carrying out the car bombing.
Vincent Muscat and Degiorgio brothers Alfred and George were arrested in December 2017.
American investigators used triangulation and other methods to establish exactly how the car bomb was set off and traced the mobile phones involved in the crime.
Local investigators were also helped by Dutch experts, and on Wednesday the Netherlands' Ministry of Foreign Affairs marked the murder anniversary by saying "There can be no democracy without a free and independent press. Let justice for journalism be served and set an example for everyone."
What the US Embassy said
In Wednesday’s statement, the US embassy urged the Maltese authorities to take action.
“It is not too late for Malta to bring Daphne’s killer to justice in a credible manner,” the statement reads.
The embassy welcomed the decision by Maltese authorities to hold a public inquiry, but reiterated its call for a thorough, transparent, and timely conclusion to the investigation.
“Accountability, strong judicial processes, transparency, and convictions are the best ways to support freedom of expression and rule of law, and deter future would-be criminals,” the statement reads.
The US embassy said that since 2010, Malta had experienced 19 bomb attacks – five fatal – and "too many remained unsolved".
The attack on Ms Caruana Galizia, however, stood apart because she was an influential journalist.
Government says it has "full faith" in investigators
A short while later, the government issued a statement of its own, in which it reiterated its "full faith" in investigators working on the case.
It said the investigations were ongoing and had involved international organisations such as FBI and Europol "at various stages".
The government emphasised the fact that three persons were arrested and accused of murdering Ms Caruana Galizia within 50 days of the crime, which it described as "a shocking attack on the whole country".
"The government has full faith in the ongoing work of the investigators, and the independent inquiring magistrate, who should be allowed to continue carrying out their duties in a serene and independent manner.
"An independent inquiry, as already announced by the Maltese government, is also being established, it said.