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Foreign Minister heads to UK to hoist Maldives flag at Commonwealth

Fathmath Shaahunaz
05 February 2020, MVT 15:42
Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid departs to London to attend the ceremony to hoist the Maldivian flag at the Commonwealth Secretariat. PHOTO/FOREIGN MINISTRY
Fathmath Shaahunaz
05 February 2020, MVT 15:42

Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid departed to London on Wednesday, to attend the ceremony to hoist the Maldivian flag at the Commonwealth Secretariat.

The Flag Hoisting Ceremony at Marlborough House on February 6 symbolises Maldives' re-admission to the Commonwealth of Nations as its 54th member state.

Following the ceremony, Minister Shahid will visit the High Commission of Maldives in London to unveil its new name plaque, as the diplomatic representation of Maldives in other Commonwealth countries is now recognised as 'High Commissions' instead of 'Embassies', as practised in Commonwealth countries.

According to the foreign ministry, Minister Shahid is scheduled to meet key interlocutors both in the Commonwealth family, and in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom during his visit. The minister will reiterate Maldives' commitment to engage proactively within the organisation during these sit-downs.

The Commonwealth officially informed Maldives of its re-admission on February 1, 2020, after almost four years since former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom withdrew the island nation from the organisation.

Rejoining the Commonwealth was one of the key foreign policy pledges of incumbent President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. The administration formally submitted the expression of interest to rejoin the organisation on December 6, 2018, soon after the president was sworn into office on November 17 that year. Maldives was formally re-admitted after two assessment visits in January and August 2019, and an elections observation mission in April 2019.

The foreign ministry declared that Maldives will endeavour to restore its place in the Commonwealth after Minister Shahid's visit, by contributing to the organisation's subsidiary bodies, and partaking in various Commonwealth activities including the Commonwealth Games.

Foreign Minister Shahid is accompanied by MP Ali Azim, the majority leader of the Maldivian parliament, who will represent the People's Majilis at the Flag Hoisting Ceremony.

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