His Excellency President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has spoken with the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of the Republic of Ireland, His Excellency Leo Varadkar, via telephone. The discussion centered on the ongoing global pandemic, COVID-19, and on long-term plans for recovery.
Explaining the Maldives’ situation to the Prime Minister, the President informed him that as of June 2nd 2020, the Maldives’ cases have reached 1841 in number and that 7 deaths have occurred due to the coronavirus. The President outlined the temporary restrictive measures the Maldives has taken in response to the pandemic, including imposing a lockdown in the Greater Male’ Region, noting that they have proven effective at containing viral spread.
As more people recover and the number of new daily cases abate, the Maldives’ Government is beginning to gradually ease restrictive measures. The President elaborated on the Maldives’ priorities during this stage. Broadly, this encompasses restarting economic activity, re-opening borders, reviving the tourism industry, and building a resilient Maldives without compromising the country’s continued success against COVID-19. He emphasized that international support is crucial during the recovery stage and highlighted the challenges to vulnerable Small Island Developing States, in particular, noting that debt-forgiveness would be an impactful measure to alleviate their burdens.
The President and Prime Minister also discussed bilateral ties. The Maldives and the Republic of Ireland established formal diplomatic ties approximately twenty one years ago. Both leaders discussed further strengthening the existing ties through international cooperation on a range of mutually important issues including: climate change, counter-terrorism and trade. The call ended with both leaders expressing confidence that strong bilateral ties and fruitful international cooperation will continue in the long-term, and wishing each other success in the continued fight against COVID-19.