|Foreign Minister invites Maldivian President to attend SAARC Summit|
|Friday, 11 July 2008|
The Maldives decided to concede its turn to Sri Lanka to host the 15th SAARC Summit as a symbol of its longstanding and close friendship with Sri Lanka, during the country’s 60th anniversary of independence this year. This was disclosed by the President of the Maldives, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom when Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama called on him yesterday (10 July 2008) to hand over the formal invitation from President Mahinda Rajapaksa to attend the forthcoming Summit meeting in Colombo.
The Maldivian President warmly accepted the invitation. Foreign Minister Bogollagama outlined to the Maldivian President, the broad structure and issues that are envisaged for discussion at the Summit. The Minister explained that this year’s theme of ‘SAARC: Partnership for our People’ is a continuation of the theme from the previous Summit based on “Connectivity”. In this context, he underscored the urgent need for sharing resources within the region in overcoming the challenges posed by the current food and energy crises, which are on the agenda. He referred to the ability of Bhutan to generate 30,000 megawatts of hydro-power, as an instance of seeking alternate sources to address the energy crisis.
He emphasized the importance of SAARC becoming a mechanism to deliver for the betterment of the region’s peoples, through such sharing. It was also noted that Agreements on the SAARC Development Fund, the South Asian Regional Standards Organisation and on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters would be signed at the Colombo Summit. Minister Bogollagama briefed President Gayoom on the need for more constructive engagement of the Observer States on the SAARC agenda. To this end, he stated that an informal meeting between the Foreign Ministers of SAARC and Observer States is planned. The Maldivian President welcomed this initiative, and while appreciating the briefing on the issues, expressed confidence that the Sri Lanka Summit will be an outstanding success. President Gayoom explained to the Minister, the political process in the Maldives, following the adoption of the new Constitution leading to multi-party elections this year.
Foreign Minister Bogollagama called on his Maldivian counterpart, Abdulla Shahid to also formally extend an invitation to attend the SAARC Summit in Colombo. Their discussions reflected Maldivian support for the Summit agenda. They also used the opportunity to discuss issues of bilateral interest to further strengthen economic cooperation. It was noted that the Maldives would convene the Joint Commission and the Joint Task Force on Tourism Cooperation.
Minister Bogollagama thanked the Maldivian Government for allocating a site for a new building for the Sri Lanka High Commission, to be located in Hulhumale, the proposed new commercial capital of the Maldives. The Minister visited the site and was pleased to learn that a Sri Lankan construction company is building the road network in Hulhumale. He met a group of Sri Lankan construction workers at the project and held out this venture as another example of resource sharing within the region, which strengthened connectivity for the welfare of its peoples.
11 July 2008
|Last Updated ( Monday, 09 March 2009 )|
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