Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid stated on Monday that the recent policies of the European Union (EU) strengthened the democratic resolve of the Maldivian people.
In the inaugural speech of Fourth EU-Maldives Policy Dialogue in Kurumba Maldives, Minister Shahid spoke of the benefits gained by Maldives due to EU policies.
“Since its inception in 2015, the Maldives- EU Policy dialogue, has been an important platform for the Government and the EU Heads of Missions to engage directly on issues of mutual interest”, Minister Shahid stated.
“The people of the Maldives appreciate the EU and its member states for the strong stance taken in recent history, whenever the Maldives deviated from the democratic path. This has strengthened the resolve of the people and the democratic resilience of the country.”
Even though the Minister did not specify any particular incident, it is believed that he was referring to the warnings given to former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s administration that sanctions will be taken against Maldives if the government prevented an independent, fair election.
Additionally, Minister Shahid spoke about the help received from EU in the reforming of democracy and judiciary system in Maldives.
Minister Shahid described the relationship between Maldives and EU as exemplary, and noted that the country was working closely with EU on various issues such as minimizing the effects of climate change, and fighting against terrorism.
Moreover, Minister Shahid noted that many tourists from EU member countries visited Maldives, and highlighted that businessmen from those countries were investing in Maldives as well.
The key issues being highlighted in the EU-Maldives Policy dialogue include human rights, democracy and strengthening of the justice sector as well as promotion and protection of human rights, environment and climate change, development cooperation and security cooperation.
The Maldivian delegation participating in the discussions is led by Minister Shahid. Other members of the delegation include Minister of Finance Ibrahim Ameer, Minister of National Planning and Infrastructure Mohamed Aslam, Minister of Tourism Ali Waheed, Minister of Economics Fayyaz Ismail, Minister of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture Zaha Waheed and Minister of Environment Dr Hussain Rasheed Hassan.
The head of the UE delegation is the UE Ambassador to Maldives Tung Lai Margue. The delegation consists of Ambassadors and Deputy Ambassadors to Maldives from Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Czech Republic, Sweden, Poland, Romania, Italy and UK.