Maldives reiterates support for hosting SAARC Summit in Islamabad

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ISLAMABAD: Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has reiterated his support for hosting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit in Islamabad.

“Both the countries have agreed to further promote bilateral cooperation through the SAARC,” said a joint communique issued at the conclusion of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Maldives on Thursday.

The three-day official visit of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Maldives at the invitation of President Yameen has provided impetus to further strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries.

Both sides acknowledged that bilateral relations between the Maldives and Pakistan are characterised by cordiality, mutual respect and commonality of interests. The visit of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Maldives has provided impetus to further strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries.

On Wednesday, the PM participated in the 52nd Independence Day celebrations of Maldives, as the Chief Guest. The Prime Minister congratulated the people and the Government of Maldives on the auspicious occasion of its Independence.

He said, “The Maldives and Pakistan enjoy historical and close neighbourly relations based on mutual understanding, goodwill and Islamic brotherhood. The two leaders agreed to work together to strengthen the solidarity of the Muslim Ummah and promote the true values of Islam internationally.”

During the visit, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held official talks with President Yameen and discussed ways of further strengthening the bilateral cooperation and people to people contacts. The two leaders also discussed ways on further enhancing cooperation at both regional and international fora.

A number of Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs)/Agreements were signed during the visit with the aim of enhancing cooperation in the fields of tourism, climate change, trade, education, and civil service cooperation and for capacity building of diplomats.

In addition, Joint Working Committees were constituted to oversee the implementation of MOUs signed between the Maldives and Pakistan. An agreement was signed between the Foreign Service Institute of Maldives and the Foreign Service Academy of Pakistan.

Other MoUs were also signed for cooperation in the fields of Climate Change and Environmental Protection between the Ministry of Environment and Energy of Maldives and the Ministry of Climate Change of Pakistan and cooperation on the matters of a Maldives–Pakistan Joint Business Council between the Ministry of Economic Development and the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FPCCI).

A MoU was signed between the Government of Maldives and the Government of Pakistan on Matters Relating to Tourism. A MoU was signed between the Maldives National University and the Virtual University of Pakistan whereas another agreement was inked between the Civil Service Commission, Maldives and the National School of Public Policy, Pakistan.

President Yameen welcomed and thanked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for Pakistan’s continued investment in the development of the Maldives, and invited investors to seize the opportunities to contribute further.President Yameen assured security and safety for foreign investments, and highlightedthe work carried out by the Government to strengthen investor confidence.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif highlighted Pakistan’s positive economic growth and underscored its policies for the security and safety of foreign investment and increasing investor confidence in Pakistan.

Both leaders welcomed the establishment of the Maldives – Pakistan Joint Business Council and Joint Working Group on Trade, as mechanisms that will promote business, trade and investment cooperation, enhance collaboration between private sector operators as well as strengthen institutional relations.

In order to further enhance the trade relations between the Maldives and Pakistan, both President Yameen and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also underscored the importance of increasing connectivity between the two countries, by reviving more direct air links between both countries.

While noting the close traditional and cultural ties and the distinct and unique tourism industries of both countries, President Yameen highlighted the importance of enhancing cooperation in the field of tourism and stressed the benefits of sharing expertise in the hospitality industry.

Youth development being a key priority area of the Government of Maldives, President Yameen welcomed the support of Pakistan in enhancing youth development programmesin the Maldives. Both leaders hence agreed to have youth exchange programmes to foster close ties in various sectors.

President Yameen expressed appreciation of the Government of Maldives for the continued assistance from Pakistan in training Maldivian National Defence Force personnel. He acknowledged the important contributions made by Pakistan to the development of the Maldives in the area of education and capacity building.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed the commitment of Pakistan to continue supporting the development of the Maldives. He announced a special grant of US$ 5 million as a gift by the people of Pakistan for the Maldivian people. He also announced five additional scholarships in the fields of medicine, engineering, pharmacy and dentistry for Maldivian students in Pakistani educational institutions.

While recognising climate change as the biggest threat to development, both leaders agreed to work together to address the adverse impacts of climate change. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif congratulated the Maldives for its continuous work on this front, especially as the Chair of Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).

The two leaders reaffirmed their unequivocal and uncompromising position against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. President Yameen appreciated Pakistan’s efforts in combating terrorism and violent extremism, and underscored the importance of mutual cooperation in this area.

The two leaders noted the close cooperation and coordination between the two countries at regional and international fora on issues of mutual importance.
Originally Published by NNI

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