15th July 2011,Male'; The Maldivian democracy is in no means secure and is a work of progress said the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ahmed Naseem. Speaking at the John Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies held in collaboration with the US State Department and the Brookings Institution in Washington DC, Minister Naseem noted the importance of consolidating democracy in the Maldives and building institutional capacity and discussed the road to democratic reform in the Maldives.

In his speech titled "Democratic Transitions in the Muslim World", Minister Naseem explained how the Maldives and United States shared the ideals that human rights and human dignity were inviolable. He further described that the "Muslim Awakening" in the Middle East and North Africa was the result of the people of that region demanding a democratic government that would protect their human rights and uphold the rule of law.

Minister Naseem added that those leaders that undermined and abused human rights would ultimately be held accountable for their actions and that the Maldives, as a member of the UN Human Rights Council, would continue to press Bahrain, Syria, Iran, Yemen and Libya to listen to their people and begin genuine programs of democratic and human rights reform.

He stressed that the international community must take a principled approach to ensure that the current wave of democratic reform in the Muslim world resulted in a positive outcome.Specifically, this meant that the international community should recognize the establishment of the State of Palestine, living side-by-side and at peace with Israel.

Also, noting that the Maldives was pushing strongly for reform of the Organization for the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in order to protect the rights of the world's 1.5 billion Muslims instead of the interests of a narrow group of kings, presidents and autocrats, Minister Naseem stressed that the changes we were seeing were not transitory, but instead reflected deep and lasting changes across Islamic society.

One of the last stops in his first official visit to the United States as the Foreign Minister, Mr. Ahmed Naseem was joined at the John Hopkins University discussion by the Assistant Secretary of State for South/Central Asia, US Department of State, Robert O. Blake, Former Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives Teresita Schaffer, Brookings Senior Fellow Dr. Stephen Cohen. Assistant Director of the South Asia Studies Program at Johns Hopkins University Dr. Walter Andersen led the discussion.