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Maldives talks collaboration opportunities with the Commonwealth

Mariyam Malsa
09 February 2020, MVT 12:25
Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid at a meeting during his diplomatic trip to UK. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Mariyam Malsa
09 February 2020, MVT 12:25

Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid discussed future opportunities for collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland as well as other leading members of the multi-national organisation.

The minister is currently on a state trip to London in order to attend a Flag Hoisting Ceremony at Marlborough House to symbolise Maldives' re-admission to the Commonwealth of Nations as the 54th member state.

Following the ceremony, the foreign minister met the Secretary General of Scotland and discussed the Commonwealth's contributions to Maldives. The minister also held a meeting with Commonwealth Secretariat Board of Governors.

Furthermore, Minister Shahid met Commonwealth Foundation Director General Anne Gallagher and Royal Commonwealth Society Chair Dr Linda Yueh for deliberations on respective collaboration opportunities.

The parliament's majority leader, Henveiru Central MP Ali Azim accompanied the foreign minister to a meeting with Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Secretary General Jarvis Matiya. The parliament has green lighted Maldives' membership in the CPA. The body's executive committee is set to reach a decision on the matter in April 2020.

During Minister Shahid's meeting with British Foreign Office's Minister for the Commonwealth, UN and South Asia, Lord Ahmed of Wimbledon and Westminster, discussions centred around Maldives' reintegration into the Commonwealth and avenues for bilateral cooperation.

Additionally, the foreign minister met Minister of State for International Environment and Animal Welfare Lord Zac Goldsmith. The two ministers discussed the 26th meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP) to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

After the flag hoisting ceremony, Minister Shahid, along with Secretary General Scotland presided over a function at 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.

Minister Shahid was accompanied by Maldivian Ambassador to UK Dr Farahanaz Faisal, the parliament's majority leader Ali Azim and Foreign Affairs Secretary at the President's Office, Sabra Noordeen.

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 took office in November 2018. Maldives was formally re-admitted after two assessment visits in January and August 2019, and an elections observation mission in April 2019.

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