Remarks by His Excellency Mr. Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, President of the Maldives, at the Joint Press Conference following the conclusion of the Official Talks between Pakistan and Maldives
25 July 2017, Ref: PS/RAY/2017/17

بســم اللّـه الرّحمـن الرّحيــم

.اَلحَمْـدُ لِلّـهِ رَبّ العَـالَمِـين، وَالصّـلاة وَالسّلام علـى سيدنا محـمَّدٍ، خاتم الأنبياء والمرسلين، وَعلـى آلـه وَصَحْبِـهِ أجمـعـين

Your Excellency, Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and members of media,

Mr. Prime Minister, the people of the Maldives are greatly honoured by your presence here with us today and are indeed privileged that you have found time out of your very busy schedule to accept our invitation to grace our Fifty-second Independence Day celebrations. Your presence here today is a true reflection of the longstanding strong bonds of friendship and understanding that our two countries continue to enjoy.

Prime Minister Sharif and I, just finished our Official Talks covering a multitude of areas including bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest to both our countries.

During our discussions, as two peace loving Islamic nations, we agreed to increase our collaborative efforts to strengthen the solidarity of the Muslim Ummah and promote the true values of Islam internationally.

We concluded some very important and key agreements aimed at enhancing our relations further. Six MOUs covering areas such as capacity building in the Foreign Service, tourism, climate change, trade, education, and civil service cooperation were signed to reinforce the close cooperation we have on these areas. We also decided to setup Joint Working Committees to oversee the swift implementation of the MOUs.

In the area of economic development, I thanked Prime Minister Sharif for the valuable contributions made by Pakistan in the socio-economic development of the Maldives over the years and expressed our wish to see investors from Pakistan to seize the available opportunities in the Maldives. We agreed to form the Maldives-Pakistan Joint Business Council and Joint Working Group on Trade as the mechanisms that will promote business, trade and investment cooperation, enhance collaboration between private sector operators as well as strengthen institutional relations.

The Prime Minister and I agreed to cooperate more closely in the area of tourism and travel. I am confident that the MOU we have signed today in this regard will help restart direct air links and improve connectivity between the two countries.

Since youth development is a key priority area of my Government, we agreed to collaborate closely in empowering our youth. I am confident that youth exchange programmes that we agreed today would benefit our youth immensely and help cement our relations further.

Pakistan has made important contributions to the development of the Maldives in the area of education and human resources development efforts. I thanked the Prime Minister for the kind and generous offer to establish a Medical College and also for the offer of five additional scholarships in the fields of medicine, engineering, pharmacy and dentistry for Maldivian students in Pakistani educational institutions. I also expressed our appreciation for the continued assistance from Pakistan in strengthening the operational capabilities of the Maldivian National Defence Force.

The Prime Minister and I discussed issues relating to terrorism, violent extremism and radicalization and we unequivocally agreed to redouble our joint efforts to combat the menace of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

The Maldives and Pakistan have been collaborating closely in the multilateral sphere. Pakistan has been a reliable, consistent, and a staunch supporter of the Maldives. The Prime Minister and I discussed key international issues of mutual concern and decided to cooperate more closely at the United Nations.

We exchanged views on the critical issues of climate change and sustainable development and agreed to work closely to implement the commitments we have undertaken in Paris in 2015. I assured the Prime Minister our firm commitment and resolve to exert our leadership on these issues as the Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).

The Prime Minster and I also had a frank and candid discussion on the pressing issues facing our region today. I expressed the firm commitment of the Maldives to work together with all regional and international players to achieve peace, stability and continued progress and prosperity in South Asia, and the Indian Ocean region as a whole. I reiterated our resolve to remain steadfast in our joint efforts to cooperate on regional issues and underscored the importance of holding the SAARC Summit in Pakistan as soon as possible.

Mr. Prime Minister,

Our talks today signify the commitment of the two countries to further enhance and consolidate our traditional, brotherly relations.

I thank Your Excellency once again for undertaking this visit to the Maldives and gracing our 52nd Independence Day celebrations.

Thank you.

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