Dhunya Maumoon

Government will develop relations with partners of economic agenda: Dunya

Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon has said that the government will continue to strengthen relations between countries which assist and support the government’s economic agenda.

Speaking to Avas, Minister Dunya said the country needed and required the assistance and support of partner nations to implement the Government's economic agenda. She said the Government had attached importance to all relationships fostered with nations over the years, but will give a special focus on nations who back and assist in achieving the nation's economic development agenda.

"We also value our partnership with the UK, EU and the US. The current government has launched a very extensive economic transformation agenda which requires cooperation with a wide range of partners. Therefore the government will continue to strengthen relations between countries which assist and support the government’s economic agenda," Minister Dunya said.

However, Minister said the nation will always prioritize an "India First Foreign Policy", as India is a long term ally, with long term relationships forged and developed across various areas. She said that India was a strategically important partner, adding that the nation will seek to boost trade, health, military and educational ties with India.

"At the same time Maldives continues to maintain close and warm ties with a number countries including Sri Lanka, Pakistan, China and also a number of countries in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia has continued to support Maldives development in a variety of areas,"

Defending the Government's decision to sever ties with Iran, Minister Dunya said the "decision to sever ties with Iran was not in any way connected to our relations with Saudi Arabia."

"The Maldives severed ties with Iran because it believes that the policies that Iranian Government pursues in the Middle East, and in particular, in the Arabian Gulf region, is detrimental to peace and security in the region, which, in many ways, is also linked to stability, peace and security of the Maldives."

Minister Dunya said that over the short period of President Yameen's tenure, the nation risen to prominence and found "a voice on the international stage". She said the country had managed to carry out various projects pioneered under the strong relationships developed in this period. Minister Dunya noted the achievements marked in the country, provision of 90 days entry visa on arrival visa for Maldivians to Malaysia. She also noted that Maldives was the Chair nation of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and the vital role played by Maldives in pushing the COP21 climate change agreement, as well as candidacy to the UN Human Rights Council in November 2013.