Palestinian President in Historic State Visit to Maldives

16 April 2012, Male’;The President of the Palestinian National Authority, H.E. Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, today arrived in the Maldives for a historic State visit - the first State visit under the Presidency of H.E. Dr. Mohamed Waheed. The Maldives has always been a steadfast supporter of Palestinian statehood and the fulfillment of Palestinian rights.

During his visit, President Waheed and President Abbas will hold bilateral talks about strengthening bilateral cooperation, and also on how the Maldives can best use its international influence, for example as a member of the UN Human Rights Council, to secure an independent and free Palestinian State.

The Maldives has over recent years used its influence to press for UN recognition of a strong, secure and prosperous Palestinian State living side-by-side and at peace with its neighbours, including Israel. The Maldives has opposed claims by Israel, the US and others that such recognition can only come after the conclusion of bilateral Palestinian-Israeli talks - talks which show little sign of progress due to Israeli settlement activity.

Speaking about the visit, Maldives State Minister for Foreign Affairs, H.E. Ms. Dunya Maumoon, said: "This is a historic moment for Maldives-Palestine relations, a time for us to reaffirm the close brotherly bonds which bind our peoples together and to reassert our support for Palestinian statehood. Without a Palestinian State there can never be Palestinian rights, and Maldives will not rest until both have been secured.