The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Maldives, Abdulla Shahid sends message of felicitations to His Excellency Rashid Meredov, Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, on the occasion of their 25th Independence Day.

Minister’s message reads as follows:

“It is my pleasure to extend warm felicitations and sincere good wishes to Your Excellency, the Government, and the people of Turkmenistan on the joyous occasion of the 25th Independence Day of Turkmenistan.

I sincerely hope that the bilateral relations between our two countries will further strengthen in the years ahead.

Please accept my best wishes for your good health and well-being, and continued peace, progress and prosperity of the people of Turkmenistan.”

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MCP LInz - Maldives-India Cargo Ferry

The Maldives-India Cargo Ferry arrived in Kulhudhuffushi today on its maiden voyage. A ceremony was held today at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to welcome the vessel MCP Linz at its first port of call in the Maldives. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid, High Commissioner of India to the Maldives Sunjay Sudhir, Members of Parliament for Kulhudhufushi Constituency Yasir Abdul Latheef, and Jamsheed Mohamed, joined the ceremony.

The ceremony was also joined by Commissioner General of Customs, the Controller of Immigration, Managing Director of Maldives State Shipping, Officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation, Maldives Ports Limited, and the High Commission of India in the Maldives. The Members of Parliament from Thiladhunmathi Uthuruburi, Thiladhunmathi Dhekunuburi, and Shaviyani Atoll, as well as Kulhudhuffushi Island Council joined the ceremony.

The Memorandum of Understanding on establishing cargo-cum-passenger ferry service was signed during the State Visit of Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi to the Maldives, in June 2019. The MoU emphasised the need to improve connectivity between the two countries through the establishment of enabling infrastructure and bilateral trade and reaffirmed that dynamic people-to-people contacts form the backbone of the bilateral relationship between two countries. The MoU further acknowledged the valuable contribution of workers, students, travellers and tourists towards the economies and communities of both the countries.

The announcement regarding the commencement of the cargo ferry service between the Maldives and India was made during the digital video conference between Minister of Foreign Affairs of Maldives Abdulla Shahid, and Minister of External Affairs of India Dr S. Jaishankar on 13 August 2020. The cargo ferry service will travel between Tuticorin, Kochi in India, and Kulhudhuffushi and Malé in the Maldives.

Speaking at the event, the Minister of Foreign Affairs highlighted that the establishment of this service will greatly improve the bilateral trade between the Maldives and India and will help revitalise the economy, especially in the North of the country. He expressed hope that the boost in sea connectivity would positively impact the economic trade between our two countries. The Minister further noted that a key enabler of boosting direct trade is to improve connectivity. The service boosts connectivity – which is at the heart of the bilateral relationship. It strengthens not only the political and economic relationship – but the people-to-people connections.

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Speaking at the High Level Event on the Humanitarian Impact of Combined Conflict, Climate and Environmental Risks held on the sidelines of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly today, His Excellency Abdulla Shahid, Minister of Foreign Affairs, urged the international community to take decisive action to address the transnational issue of climate change amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minister Shahid described climate change as a threat multiplier, contributing to increased natural disasters, refugee flows and conflicts over basic resources such as food and water. In this regard, he relied on the current statistics to estimate that by 2050, 200 million people, or one person in 45 worldwide, will have been displaced by the effects of climate change. He further drew attention to the link between climate change and armed conflict, noting that if left unchecked, this could worsen both economic and social tensions in conflict or post-conflict zones, with serious implications especially for the poor and marginalized populations. Minister Shahid then joined the organisers, to call for a deeper analysis of combined conflict, climate and environmental risks and vulnerabilities, and for further reflection on how humanitarian responses should adapt to bolster the resilience of the communities that are most vulnerable.

This high level event was co-hosted by Belgium, the European Union, the Republic of Niger and the International Committee of the Red Cross. It provided a platform for discussion based on the integration of a humanitarian perspective in the areas of climate and security, and featured the launch of the updated ICRC Guidelines on the Protection of the Natural Environment in Armed Conflict. The event was also attended by His Excellency Lowcock, Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General (OCHA), Mr. Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) among many other high level officials.

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The annual Informal Meeting of the SAARC Council of Ministers was held virtually today. The meeting was chaired by Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nepal, Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, with participation by Ministers of Foreign Affairs of all SAARC member countries. H.E Esala Ruwan Weerakoon, the new Secretary General of SAARC presented the progress report of SAARC on the status of regional cooperation since the last Informal Meeting in 2019.

Representing the Maldives, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdulla Shahid, in his statement emphasized the importance of regional cooperation to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Minister Shahid noted the devastating impacts of COVID-19 pandemic in the region and to the Maldives, where tourism, the main economic pillar, has collapsed. Minister Shahid expressed his deepest gratitude to the Government of India for their overwhelming support to the Maldives in the fight against COVID-19, and beyond. The financial package of US $ 250 million pledged by India is the largest financial support announced by a bilateral partner during COVID 19. Minister Shahid also thanked the Government of Bangladesh for their generous assistance in grant aid and providing medical personnel, and all member states for ensuring the welfare of Maldivians and their repatriation.

Minister Shahid highlighted the need to strengthen intra-regional trade and connectivity, and enhance access to quality education to unleash the full potential of SAARC. In addition, Minister Shahid called for unity among members to eradicate terrorism, the core factor which impedes development in the region, and combat global climate change. Increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather has greatly affected the region this year.

During the meeting, each Member State delivered a country statement reviewing SAARC activities, with a focus on efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in their respective countries and the SAARC region.

In conclusion, all Member States underlined the importance of SAARC and pledged their commitment to work closely together to promote peace, stability and prosperity for the South Asian people.

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