Press Statement by His Excellency Moosa Zameer, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Maldives, following the Official Talks between the Maldives and Sri Lanka

Ref: 2024/Statement/19


Assalaamu alaikum and a very good afternoon.

Your Excellency Ali Sabry, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka,

Members of both delegations,

Members of the media.

Ladies and Gentlemen.


Allow me to begin by expressing my heartfelt gratitude to the people and Government of Sri Lanka for the warm welcome and gracious hospitality extended to my delegation and I during this visit. It is always a delight to visit this wonderful city, which most of us Maldivians consider to be a home away from home.


I would like to commend the Government and the people of Sri Lanka for the progress made in overcoming the extreme economic hurdles it faced.  We are confident in the Sri Lankan people’s perseverance and capability to build a more resilient and inclusive economy, under the able leadership of President Ranil Wickremesinghe.


Sri Lanka has always been one of our dearest friends and development partners, and over the centuries, our long-lasting friendship has continued to prosper. Our friendship is based on mutual trust and respect – core principles which underscore our bilateral relations. The exchange of high-level visits has facilitated the establishment of more intimate dialogue and cooperation in areas of mutual interest. We are fully dedicated to the preservation and deepening of this mutually beneficial partnership.


The Maldives is profoundly grateful to the Government of Sri Lanka for the innumerable contributions it has made to our national development. Our developmental trajectory is positively influenced by the diverse forms of assistance we receive in the areas of health, education, commerce, and youth and sports, among others. I would also like to recognise the substantial contributions that the Sri Lankan expatriate community has made to the Maldivian economy and society.


I thank Minister Sabry, the Government and people of Sri Lanka for the warm hospitality and good will accorded to hundreds of Maldivians who reside in Sri Lanka as well as those who visit for leisure and other purposes. We are grateful to the Government of Sri Lanka for re-affirming the terms of our bilateral agreement on short term visit visa of up to 90 days for the nationals of both countries on the basis of reciprocity, and providing concessional terms for resident student visas.


I am delighted that we were able to hold very constructive discussions today on a diverse array of mutually significant issues, including cooperation in the areas of economy and trade, education, fisheries, health, tourism, youth, sports, and skills development, social protection, employment, consular and community issues, legal and law enforcement, culture, and regional and multilateral cooperation.


Minister Sabry and I agreed that much more needs to be done to promote trade and investment between the Maldives and Sri Lanka. In this regard, we hope to conclude the agreements on the avoidance of double taxation and on the promotion and protection of investments between our two countries at the earliest. Both of these will facilitate trade, ease the burden and risks of doing business in both our countries.


I conveyed that President Dr Mohamed Muizzu, upon the recommendation from his Cabinet, has decided to submit the text of the "Treaty Between the Government of the Maldives and the Government of Sri Lanka on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters" to the Maldives Parliament for approval. The treaty provides a framework for mutual support and cooperation in combating criminal offenses.


As two countries greatly dependent on fishing, we noted the necessity to work together closely to combat Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported fishing in our respective EEZs and beyond. The Maldives is pleased to offer transfer of knowledge on sustainable pole and line fishing to Sri Lankan fishermen.


While the Maldives and Sri Lanka already enjoy close cooperation in the security and defence sectors, we agreed to enhance training opportunities for officers of both countries.


On regional and multilateral issues of importance, our countries have a common understanding and are united in our efforts to resolve them. Ranging from combating terrorism and violent extremism, drugs, human trafficking to promotion and protection  of human rights.


We reiterated our commitment to work together for sustainable development, peace, security and prosperity of the South Asia region through SAARC and other platforms such as the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA). I commended the leadership and achievements of Sri Lanka as the current Chair of IORA. Minister Sabry and I also reaffirmed the position of our two countries on the situation in Gaza. We hope there will be an immediate and permanent ceasefire and the people of Gaza will have access to the humanitarian aid that they so urgently need.


On climate change, we agreed that more needs to be done on both mitigation and adaptation.  Addressing climate change is critical for sustainable development. As small island nations, we are disproportionately impacted despite minimal emissions. The Maldives is committed to achieving Net Zero emissions by 2030.

Let me conclude by reiterating the commitment of the Government of Maldives to continue working closely with the Government of Sri Lanka, both bilaterally and multilaterally, to further deepen and enhance the ties between our two countries. I have invited Foreign Minister Sabry to undertake an official visit to the Maldives at a mutually convenient time, to carry forward our discussions. I thank you once again for your kind hospitality and look forward to reciprocating the same in the Maldives.


Thank you.

މިނިސްޓްރީ އޮފް ފޮރިން އެފެއާޒް,މާލެ، ދިވެހިރާއްޖެ،20077 |ފޯން ނަންބަރު: 3323400-00960 | ހޮޓްލައިން: 7983400-00960