Former Maltese diplomat Ives De Barro has passed away. He was 85.

Mr De Barro joined Malta's fledging diplomatic service in the 1960s after having served in the media.  

Several dignitaries paid tribute to Mr De Barro as the news emerged.

Mr De Barro started his career as a journalist with Times of Malta and was a correspondent for the same newspaper during the Suez war in 1956. 

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion expressed its condolences to the family of former ambassador.

"All those who knew Ambassador De Barro, knew him to be a gentleman of a jovial character.  He loved culture, books, the arts, life itself and was a remarkable example of diplomatic behaviour," the ministry said in a statement. 
 
He joined the Maltese Diplomatic Service in July 1967. As Second Secretary, he served in the Maltese Embassy in Tripoli, Libya between 1969 and 1974. From 1974 till 1978, he was posted to Rome as First Secretary. In 1982 he was appointed Head of the Ministry’s Administration Division assisting in the coordination of the Maltese embassies overseas.

In 1999, Ives De Barro was appointed as High Commissioner to Australia with residence in Canberra. In 2000, he presented his credentials as High Commissioner of Malta to New Zealand.

At the end of his career, in 2009, he was consultant to the Foreign Office on the repatriation of immigrants.

His service as second secretary in Libya in the early 1970s was to get him into a spot of trouble some 38 years later when it was claimed that he was a mole serving British interests.

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Mr De Barro always denied the claims, describing them as character assassination. Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi exonerated him in October 2009 following a Foreign Ministry investigation.

The investigation established that Mr De Barro did not have regular or systematic meetings with British Embassy staff in Tripoli. In any case, there was not much to report on any deals – secret or otherwise – between the Maltese and Libyan governments.

He was married to Anna Maria and had two children, Yves and Ana.