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Maldives looks to EU for easier visa access to Europe

Fathmath Shaahunaz
24 May 2017, MVT 15:35
Foreign Minister Dr Mohamed Asim speaks to reporters about the Maldives-EU Policy Dialogue 2017. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU
Fathmath Shaahunaz
24 May 2017, MVT 15:35

The government of the Maldives on Tuesday discussed ways to ease difficulties in obtaining visas to European countries with delegates of the European Union (EU), disclosed Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Mohamed Asim.

Speaking to reporters, Minister Asim stated that ease of obtaining visas to Europe was the key topic of focus in the Maldives-EU Policy Dialogue discussion that took place in Bandos Island Resort on Tuesday.

“As you know, we have to go to Colombo [Sri Lanka] to get a visa for Germany, which is because we don’t have an EU Embassy [in the Maldives]. However, several envoys [from EU] promised to provide whatever assistance they can regarding the visa issue,” said the minister, who described the Maldives-EU meeting as a very open discussion.

According to Foreign Minister Asim, other issues discussed include exporting local products to member states of the EU and opportunities for businessmen. The minister declared that the discussions are testimony to EU’s interest in the progress of the Maldives and strengthening of bilateral relations.

Minister Asim elaborated that both parties had put forward various topics, noting that the Ministry of Gender and Family, the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture, and the Attorney General’s Office had submitted documents to address at the discussion. He stated that government representatives had shared the state’s achievements and projects, amendments to laws and regulations, and development efforts with the EU diplomats.

He added that the mutual dialogue mostly touched upon the sectors of society, fisheries and environment in the Maldives, and that the meeting ended on affable terms for both parties.

The EU delegation arrived in the Maldives to determine the current political situation of the country. The delegation includes envoys from the United Kingdom, Poland, Ireland, Germany, Italy, France and Sweden.

Mutual discussions officially commenced between the Maldives and the EU in 2015. The foreign ministry confirmed that the annual meeting will be held next year as well.

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