Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid,on Wednesday, met with various high level diplomats of foreign countries on the sidelines of the 4th Indian Ocean Conference (IOC) held from September 3 to 4.
During a series of meetings held at Paradise Island Resort, Minister Shahid held discussions with Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries of Timor-Leste Joaquim Jose Gusmao dos Reis Martines, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade of Mauritius Nandcoomar Bodha and Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Papua New Guinea Sekie Agisa.
During the meeting with Timor-Leste's Fisheries and Agriculture Minister, Shahid expressed appreciation towards the Timor-Leste government for their participation in IOC.
Noting the close collaboration between both countries on similar issues including climate change and sustainable development, Shahid informed that Maldives would be happy to share expertise with Timor-Leste in the development of their tourism industry.
Shahid's meeting with the Foreign Minister of Mauritius focused extensively on increasing collaboration between the two countries in the areas of fisheries and tourism, while discussions with Papua New Guinea's Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs revolved around fostering closer collaborations to address and alleviate the unfavourable effects of climate change.
Moreover, the Foreign Minister held sideline meetings with Deputy Secretary at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia Richard Maude and Ambassador of the United States of America to the Maldives Alaina Teplitz.
Deputy Secretary of Australia's Foreign office and Shahid exchanged similar dialogue around climate change as well. The two further discussed other issues of mutual importance such as democracy, human rights and peace and security of the Indian Ocean.
In addition, the Foreign Minister expressed gratitude towards the Australian government for their continuous support in Maldives' efforts to rejoin the Commonwealth.
Shahid also extended thanks to the US Government in the meeting with the US Ambassador to Maldives, for the continued assistance by US in increasing cooperation between the two countries in mutually beneficial areas.
Furthermore, he discussed expanding cooperation especially in the field of counter-terrorism and counter-radicalization.
In addition, Shahid met with diplomats from Seychelles, Bangladesh and Japan.
Collaborating in combating climate change and blue economy initiatives were discussed in the meeting with Designated Minister and Minister for Local Government and Home Affairs Risk and Disaster Management, Department of Youth, Sports and Culture of Seychelles.
Speaking to Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bangladesh Shahriar Alam, Shahid highlighted that Bangladeshi nationals comprise of the highest number of expatriate workers in Maldives, and requested cooperation to regulate undocumented workers.
Both ministers also discussed the importance of peace, security and stability in the Indian Ocean in addition to the need for sharing intelligence in the fight against radicalism and violent extremism.
During the meeting with State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan Toshiko Abe, Shahid expressed appreciation for the continued assistance of Japan in areas including environment, health, and technical capacity building and discussed cooperation in areas of mutual interest including economic cooperation, people to people exchanges, regional, and international issues.
During each meeting, Minister Shahid reaffirmed the government's commitment to strengthen existing bilateral relations between Maldives and the respective countries.