Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid met the Secretary of State of the United States of America, Antony Blinken, on Thursday, marking a pivotal moment in the bilateral relationship between the two countries. The meeting took place at a crucial juncture as both Maldives and the United States establishes resident embassies in their respective capitals, underscoring the commitment to revitalize friendship and cooperation.
The discussions between Minister Shahid and Secretary Blinken centered on a range of issues, including promoting and strengthening democracy, commitment to economic growth, adapting to a changing climate, defence cooperation, free and fair elections, and freedom of expression and association.
During the meeting, Secretary Blinken congratulated the Maldives on the successful efforts to consolidate democracy. He further acknowledged Maldives’ leadership in climate diplomacy to ensure increased global commitment to combat climate change and promote environmental sustainability.
Minister Shahid requested for increased higher education opportunities for Maldivians to study at American universities, highlighting the importance of academic exchanges, scholarships, and collaboration across various fields of study. Furthermore, Minister Shahid also emphasized the importance of waiving of visas for Maldivians traveling to the United States, aiming to promote people-to-people contact. Secretary Blinken acknowledged the importance of enhancing such contact and assured Minister Shahid that the United States would explore possibilities to streamline visa procedures for Maldivian nationals.