A Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation on Immigration Matters was signed on Saturday between the Maldives government and the Sri Lanka government.
The MoU was signed during Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid's ongoing visit to Sri Lanka upon the invitation of the country's foreign minister, M.U.M. Ali Sabry, to attend the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of Sri Lanka's independence.
Minister Shahid said that the agreement signed today would be mutually beneficial and assist both countries in managing border security and enhancing people-to-people contact between the Maldives and Sri Lanka.
The two ministers met prior to the MoU signing and discussed areas of mutual interest and explored new avenues of cooperation, particularly in trade, investment, education, and culture.
Minister Shahid thanked his counterpart for the Sri Lankan government’s willingness to ease the procedure for obtaining visas for Maldivian students under the age of 18 on a reciprocal basis, the foreign ministry reported.
As part of the visit, Minister Shahid also met the Foreign Minister of Nepal, Dr Bimala Rai Paudyal. Discussion at this meeting included climate change and cooperation in the health sector, especially in seeking internship opportunities for Maldivian medical doctors in Nepal.
Later in the evening, the Maldives' foreign minister also met the President of Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe, as well as the country's Prime Minister, Dinesh Gunawardena.
Minister Shahid's delegation for the trip includes the Deputy Majority Leader of the Parliament, South-Henveiru MP Hussain Shaheem; Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ahmed Khaleel; High Commissioner of the Maldives to Sri Lanka, Ali Faiz; Secretary Bilateral, Dr Hala Hameed; Controller General of the Maldives Immigration, Mohamed Ahmed Hussain; Deputy High Commissioner Fathimath Ghina; Assistant Director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Aishath Fareena; and Second Secretary, Aminath Warudha.