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President assures India to honor military withdrawal deal

Mohamed Rehan
04 December 2023, MVT 09:59
President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu speaks with local media at Velana International Airport upon arrival after concluding his visits to Turkey and UAE-- Photo: Mihaaru
Mohamed Rehan
04 December 2023, MVT 09:59

President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu on Sunday, December 3, has announced the Indian government's assurance to honor and respect the arrangement to withdraw its soldiers from the Maldives.

In his statement, President Muizzu said that the Indian government has given assurance to respect the desire of the Maldivian people "to abstain from accommodating foreign military presence" in the country.

President Muizzu made the remarks during a press briefing held on Sunday at Velana International Airport, arriving after concluding his official visits to Türkiye and United Arab Emirates (UAE).

While President Muizzu and First Lady Sajidha Mohamed along with a high-level delegation flew to Türkiye on the official invitation of the country's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, he flew to UAE to attend the COP28 summit.

In his speech at VIA, President Muizzu reiterated the current government's approach to ensure the Maldives' position as a "welcoming and hospitable nation". He underscored the importance of mutual respect for security boundaries with other countries.

The President further affirmed the Maldives' commitment to employing diplomatic channels as the primary instrument in deporting foreign military personnel.

In addition to this, President Muizzu highlighted that he had engaged in several "fruitful dialogues" with representatives of the Indian government, specifically addressing the withdrawal of Indian military personnel from the Maldives. He recalled his meeting with Indian officials on the second day of assuming office, during which he made the official request from India to withdraw its military.

Following constructive meetings and dialogues with India, an agreement was reached to withdraw its military personnel which is currently in progress at a technical level, the President added.

President Muizzu also stressed that during his meeting with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the COP28 in Dubai, both leaders had agreed to establish a high-level committee comprising senior government officials representing the two nations. He added that this committee would be tasked with coordinating efforts to address the challenges related to ongoing development projects in the Maldives.

While expressing his aspiration for swift conclusion to the Indian military's withdrawal, President Muizzu said he sought to resolve the matter through diplomatic cooperation.

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