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Australia will support Maldives rejoining the Commonwealth: Ambassador

Shahudha Mohamed
30 June 2019, MVT 15:22
Australian Ambassador to Maldives David Holly speaking at the press conference held to commemorate 45 years of diplomatic relations between Australia and Maldives. PHOTO: FOREIGN MIN
Shahudha Mohamed
30 June 2019, MVT 15:22

Australian Ambassador to Maldives David Holly assured on Sunday that the Australian government will provide its full cooperation to Maldives in rejoining the Commonwealth.

He added that Australia will support Maldives in becoming a member of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG).

In a press conference held to commemorate 45 years of diplomatic relations between the two counties, Holly stated that Maldives and Australia had a constructive relationship.

Tweet by Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Noting that Australia was a state that supported independent and transparent decisions, Holly congratulated the current government's efforts to stay on a path ensuring such decisions.

Maldives withdrew from the Commonwealth in former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom's administration in October 2016. According to the then-government, the decision was made due to Commonwealth meddling in the country's internal affairs, and differentiating between Maldives and other states.

However, the current administration requested to rejoin Commonwealth shortly after President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's inauguration. Following this submission, a delegation from the Commonwealth visited Maldives to assess the situation of the country.

Australia has been providing scholarships for Maldives for the past 55 years. Over 600 Maldivians, including top officials of the government, have attained higher studies through these scholarships,

Disclosing that a total of USD 10.8 million was spent for scholarships and developing human resources in the past five years, Holly stated that scholarship slots are available this year as well.

He further noted that Australia agreed to contribute USD 31 million for national development plans and projects held in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in the partnership forum held recently.

At the press conference, Foreign Secretary Abdul Ghafoor Mohamed stated that 45 years of diplomatic relations with Australia was a success.

"Australia is an instrumental and indispensable partner in the socio-economic development of Maldives", he stated, noting the scholarships they granted to develop human resources.

He also noted that Australia was providing assistance in the field of climate change, security and efforts of good governance.

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