President Abdulla Yameen and First Lady Fathimath Ibrahim have arrived back to the Maldives on Wednesday afternoon after concluding their official visit to United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The visit was made at the invitation of the country's president Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan
During the visit, president Yameen had met key leaders in UAE, and discussed ways to further strengthen and diversify trade, increase technical and financial assistance, and further accelerate socioeconomic ties between the UAE and the Maldives.
Four key agreements were signed between the government of Maldives and the UAE - most notably the loan agreement that was signed with the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) to develop the Velana International Airport (VIA)'s terminals.
A source told Mihaaru that it was roughly a USD 50 million loan, whilst the estimated cost of revamping the entire terminal is USD 350 million. The construction of the terminal will be overseen by the Saudi-based multinational construction conglomerate, the Saudi Binladin Group, the source revealed.
The president and the first lady had also met with the Maldivian community living in the UAE at a luncheon, where he had highlighted how well-disciplined the Maldivians residing in UAE are. He had praised the crowd for upholding Maldivians’ good name in the international community, the President’s Office revealed.
The president was accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Mohamed Asim, Minister of Economic Development Mohamed Saeed and the Minister of Environment and Energy Thoriq Ibrahim on his visit to the UAE.
Maldives first established diplomatic relations with UAE in 1978. Since then, ties between the two countries have been strong, with UAE contributing over MVR 400 million to the Maldivian government for various development projects over the years.