Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, addresses at the Peoples Majilis of the Republic of Maldives

The Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe addressed at the Peoples Majilis of the Maldives on 3rd of September.

At the outset, Ranil stated that it is an honor to address the People’s Majlis of the Maldives Islands at a time when the people of the Maldives enjoy the privileges of Parliamentary Democracy and where the Parliament is headed by the former President of the Maldives, a Democracy Campaigner, and long-time friend of Sri Lanka. He also thanked the Honourable Speaker and the Members of the Majlis for inviting him to address the People’s Majlis. 

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Additionally, Ranil Wickremesinghe highlighted about the diplomatic relationship between the Maldives and Sri Lanka, which started on the day the Maldives got independence on 26th July 1965. He also stated that the relationship between the people of Sri Lanka and the Maldives dates back many centuries, by referring to the great Sri Lankan chronicle, Mahavamsa.

Furthermore, Ranil congratulated President Solih and Speaker Nasheed who are the front-runners of the democratic movement in the Maldives for having strengthened people’s power and rights in the Maldives. And explained the major strides taken to strengthen democracy and ensure freedom of society in Sri Lanka – during the last few years of their government.

Ranil noted about terrorist attacks which Lanka has faced. He noted that Sri Lanka has been subjected to over twenty-five years of terrorism.  Nevertheless, the Easter Sunday bombings by sympathizers of the ISIS was a radically different terrorist attack. And they have learned a lot from this tragic experience; and today, Sri Lanka stands ready to work with all stakeholders to establish an effective mechanism for regional cooperation to counter ISIS terrorism.

He also expressed his indebtedness, at this juncture, to Maldivian delegation who visited Sri Lanka after the bomb explosion. He stated that they gave them much needed support at that critical juncture.

Historically, Sri Lanka and the Maldives have maintained convivial and supportive bilateral relationships. In recent times, Sri Lanka has been assisting the Maldives in the areas of education, and the capacity building of the Maldivian military and police. The Maldives – Sri Lanka Joint Commission which was established in 1984 has also been working on mutual cooperation in the areas of tourism, fisheries, education, health, skills development, sports, employment, and cultural cooperation.

Moreover, Maldives is the third largest export destination for Sri Lanka among the SAARC countries, after India and Pakistan. The value of total trade between the two countries, which stood Sri Lanka US$ 271.1 million in 2017, has increased to the level of US$ 304.3 million in 2018.

In order to fortify the mutual relationship between both the countries further, several agreements of cooperation – in the areas of visa facilitation, water supply, youth development, vocational training, higher education, and social empowerment were signed between the two countries during the Sri Lankan Prime Minister’s visit. 

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