The Malta Summit 1989 took place from 2-3 December 1989. The Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and George H.W. Bush met on the cruise ship SS Maxim Gorkiy, which was moored in Marsaxlokk Harbour, Malta.
The summit in Malta was planned for 2 and 3 December 1989, on the Soviet vessel SS Maxim Gorkiy that was moored at Kalafrana Bay in Birżebbuġa. A few days before, two destroyers from both sides anchored in the middle of the bay.
Significantly, the summit took place around a month after the fall of the Berlin wall on 9 November 1989. Communist governments in Eastern Europe were collapsing. Hungary had just opened its border with the West. After the fall of Erich Honecker, the new East German government lasted just seven weeks.
During the Summit, the two men discussed the cataclysmic changes sweeping across Europe after the collapse of the Berlin wall and the end of the Iron Curtain. They declared a planned reduction in troops within Europe and that a reduction in weaponry would be discussed at a meeting scheduled for June 1990.
During a press conference, Gorbachev said he had promised the US president that he would never start a hot war with the US. He stated: “We are at the beginning of a long road to a lasting, peaceful era.”
President Bush confirmed that the Malta SUmmit would be the beginning of a “lasting peace” in East-West relationships.
Bush also noted that the world powers - including the United States - should hold back from forcing change in Germany or anywhere else.
The discussions at Malta marked a significant reduction in hostilities between the USA and the USSR. The Malta Summit was considered by some to be the most important meeting between the USA and USSR since the Yalta Conference of February 1945, when Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin met to discuss the future of Europe after the end of World War Two.
The Malta Summit was followed by the collapse of the Soviet Union which took place on 25 December 1991, when Gorbachev resigned from his position and declared his office extinct. He passed the leadership of the Soviet Army to Russian President Boris Yeltsin.
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