Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
The Maldives Ambassador to the UAE Hussain Niyaaz has expressed gratefulness for the unceasing support the host government has been extending for the pursuit of the economic growth and stability of the South Asian archipelago, also known since the ancient times as “Garland of Islands” or Maladvipa (Sanskrit).
In particular, Niyaaz mentioned the Abu Dhabi Development Fund which “has been playing a crucial role in facilitating the economic expansion of the country through its involvement in critical infrastructure development.”
“In 1976, the Fund (supported) the expansion of the main gateway to The Maldives: the international airport (situated in Hulhule Island, north of the Male Atoll) and also the telecommunications development project, among several others,” he also said.
In the aftermath of the Dec.26, 2004 “Indian Ocean Tsunami” that heavily destroyed 39 of the 200 inhabited islets of the former Portuguese/Dutch/British colony, the UAE “notably provided generous support towards housing and infrastructure projects.”
The UAE and The Maldives formally sealed their diplomatic relations on March 15, 1978.
The ambassador expressed his gratefulness and described the UAE a “trusted friend” of Maldives when he virtually hosted a 45-minute celebration of the 77th year of Independence of the former British protectorate on Monday, Aug.10; albeit the commemorative date falls on July 26.
“With the help of our development partners, The Maldives is now a proud Middle Income Country, having graduated from the Least Developed Country Status on Jan.1, 2011; although the transition was not easy especially during the recovery from the devastation of the 2004 tsunami,” he said.
Niyaaz added: “Being resource poor, we as a nation count on our trusted friends like the UAE to help us overcome challenges (such as the Novel Coronavirus consequences).”
Remotely interviewed, Niyaaz, assigned to the UAE and based in Abu Dhabi since 2017, said, “The UAE has become the most important trading partner of The Maldives in terms of volume and the bilateral relations looks positive to say the least.”
He looks forward to a more strengthened diplomatic relations as the exchange of high-level visits by government officials between both countries have become frequent with The Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih twice on official trips to Abu Dhabi in 2019.
“Furthermore, people-to-people contact between Maldivians and Emiratis have been growing in recent years, facilitated by more relaxed visa regimes signed between the two countries which signifies the close relations between the two countries,” Niyaaz added.
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