Maldives president to visit Sri Lanka

Maldives new President Mohamed Waheed is to visit Sri Lanka on a two-day tour from Thursday, a spokesman said on Monday.

Maldives’ government spokesman Masood Imad told Xinhua that Waheed is to call on Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa during his visit.

“In addition President Waheed is also to sign two bilateral ties with Sri Lanka,” Masood told Xinhua. Sri Lanka and Maldives has close historical, economical, social and cultural ties for a long time.

In July the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) and Sir John Kotalawala Defence University to provide MNDF personnel military training and an opportunity to enroll for its degree courses.

The MoU was signed during a visit by Maldives Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim, to whom the Sri Lankan president had assured assistance to the Maldivian army.

The two South Asian countries had also discussed the conduct of joint operations to patrol the Economic Zones between the two countries. The Maldives Defence Minister’s visit was preceded by the Maldives Deputy President Waheed Deen and State Minister for Foreign Affairs Dunya Maumoon, who also the daughter of former president Abdul Gayoom.

Following the power transfer in the Indian Ocean archipelago in Feb. 7, Sri Lanka had assured its assistance and cooperation with the new government. (Xinhua)