President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and First Lady Fazna Ahmed on Monday night departed to Qatar to watch the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup 2022.
The President and the First Lady were invited by the Qatari Amir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. "This visit is symbolic of the Maldives’ close and stable bilateral relations with Qatar," the statement from the President’s Office read.
Earlier this month, the Spokesperson at the President’s Office, Mohamed Miuvaan, stated that the President received an official invitation from the Qatari Amir to watch the FIFA World Cup; however, it was not confirmed whether he would be going.
In response to the criticism over this administration’s official travel budget, the President’s Office had previously stated that if Solih decided to go to Qatar, he would cover the travel expenses himself and that accommodation would be provided by the Qatari authorities.
The President and the First Lady are scheduled to return to Malé on Thursday.
When the FIFA World Cup commenced, Solih sent greetings to the Amir for successfully hosting one of the world's largest sporting events in Qatar. He particularly noted that he was pleased that the event was being held in a Muslim country for the first time.