SL-Maldives to redouble counter-terrorism efforts

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Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and President of the Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih have agreed to redouble efforts to protect people from the threat of terrorism in the region, a joint press statement from the leaders said today.

They arrived at this agreement after discussing international issues of mutual concern.

President Solih expressed his deepest sympathies to the people and government of Sri Lanka for the devastating terrorist attack that unfolded in April.

The two leaders said climate change was an alarming threat that needed immediate attention in both mitigation and adoption, and agreed on the need to work with all countries to combat terrorism and counter-violent extremism within and beyond the region. The duo expressed their readiness to continue constructive engagement in all spheres.

In their statements, both leaders highlighted the enduring friendship that defined the relationship between Sri Lanka and the Maldives. They noted that this, in turn, had contributed to the excellent cooperation that existed between the two countries.

President Solih’s remarks reiterated that the Maldives and Sri Lanka enjoyed a traditionally-close and significant relationship with values, history and culture intertwined. He said interaction between the two countries went beyond recorded history. Moreover, he expressed gratitude for the numerous assistance Sri Lanka had extended to the Maldives over the years.

He highlighted Sri Lanka’s expert aid in capacity-building and human resource development especially in the areas of healthcare, education, defence, youth development and sports, which had proven a boon to socio-economic development in the Maldives.

Both President Solih and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe expressed their satisfaction at the substance and pace of cooperation on international fora, bilaterally and multilaterally, since the President’s visit to Sri Lanka in February.

Noting that significant progress was being achieved, President Solih discussed ways to continue to expand and develop the bilateral relationship between the two countries and to cooperate even closer on consulate matters. He said the MoUs exchanged would be to contribute to this objective and that the visa facilitation agreement would ease the issue of parental, guardian and student visa for Maldivians studying in Sri Lanka and help enrich our cultures and economies.

President Solih continued to note important contributions by the Sri Lankan Government in aiding the Maldives, especially citing the healthcare sector. He expressed his appreciation for the kind hospitality and excellent services provided to Maldivians seeking healthcare in Sri Lanka. In particular, he noted the decision of the Sri Lankan Government to allow Maldivians to seek organ transplant services in Sri Lanka.

The two leaders reviewed ongoing cooperation in important sectors as healthcare, education, regional governance, peace and security in the Indian Ocean.

President Solih also remarked on the significance of the agreements exchanged. “Investing in skills development and the youth is a priority of my government. Today, we inked important MoUs that will contribute to higher education, youth development and enhancing the capacity and quality of human resources,” he said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe met with Vice President of the Maldives Faisal Naseem at the President’s Office.

The Vice President reiterated President Solih’s sentiments expressed during the official talks, commenting on mutual respect and friendship that had always marked the relationship between the two countries. He expressed his satisfaction that this relationship would be further bolstered by the inter-governmental agreement and MoUs signed.

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