Three US marines this afternoon lowered the flag from the US Embassy in Floriana in preparation for its move to a new building at Ta' Qali, being dedicated during celebrations which will coincide with the American Independence Day.

The official opening will take place on July 15.

Charge d'Affairs Richard M. Mills, Jr presented the flag to Floriana mayor Nigel Holland, who said that he had always felt proud that a country such as the US had had its embassy in his locality.

Mr Mills said that relations between the US and Malta were established in 1796, when Malta was ruled by the Knights.

Shortly after Malta's Independence in 1964, full diplomatic relations were established and the US opened its first embassy in Valletta.

After some years, the embassy moved to Sliema and in 1974 to Floriana, where it was to date.

The building includes a new Information Resource Centre, which offers a reference library containing current US publications, internet terminals, a conference room to host digital video conferences with US speakers, and a cultural corner.

The new embassy was built on 10 acres of land acquired from the Maltese government in 2006 for €14.6m.

The new embassy at Ta' Qali will allow the US to consolidate several embassy facilities, including its warehouse and housing for the marine guard.

The new chancery building includes the latest features for sustainable development and water and energy conservation, making it an internationally certified LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) "green" building.


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