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MVR1.9 bln secured as free aid on Foreign Minister's travels

01 April 2019, MVT 13:43
Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/ MIHAARU
01 April 2019, MVT 13:43

Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed that Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid has secured MVR 1.9 billion as free aid from his visits abroad over the past four months.

Maldives' ties with neighbouring countries were strained due to the foreign policies of former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s administration. However, after the inauguration of incumbent President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Minister Shahid set out on official trips to nearby countries in order to strengthen bilateral relations.

The minister secured a significant amount of foreign aid on his visits. The President mentioned the fact last week and declared that even more financial assistance has been promised to the country.

Foreign Ministry claimed that the aid received in the first 100 days of the current government amounts to more than that received in the past five years. In the past, countries provided aid to Maldives in the form of loans or on other conditions, said the ministry.

Details on aid received

- MVR 771 million (USD 50 million) from India, including an additional MVR 100 million during the visit of Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj

- MVR 771 million (USD 50 million) from UAE

- MVR 308 million (USD 20 million) from USA

After assuming office, Shahid first visited neighbouring India, the nation with which Maldives suffered the greatest strain in relations during the previous administration. Along with an agreement to maintain strong affiliations, India guaranteed a further USD 1 billion.

Foreign Ministry further acknowledged better facilitation of visas for Maldivians travelling to India.

The minister also secured easier visa facilitation for UAE during his visit, with Maldivians no longer requiring one to travel to the country.

The latest development was the Thai government waiving visa for Maldivians travelling as tourists to Thailand.

The ministry further shared that a total of MVR 3.7 million was spent on the minister’s travels to secure foreign assistance.

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