Malta and the United States established full diplomatic relations upon Malta's independence in 1964. Relations with the United States are close. Malta is a member of the Partnership for Peace, the European Union, and the Schengen Treaty. Despite its small geographic size, Malta's strategic location on the Southern Mediterranean less than 200 miles north of the North African Coast, makes it a significant actor in maintaining Mediterranean security. In particular, Malta shares an important responsibility to enforce the Schengen Zone's common border, as well as the European Union's customs control.
U.S. Navy ships currently visit on a semi-regular basis. Additionally, the Maltese military has participated in EURASIA Capstone, SAR training center programs, Exercise Phoenix Express, and other engagements. During the recent NATO operations in North Africa, Malta served as a Non Combatant Evacuation Safe Haven as well as a hub for international humanitarian assistance in North Africa.