Colombo, 8 June 2023 (TDI): During his visit to Colombo, Foreign Minister Abdullah Shahid attended the fourth session of the Maldives-Sri Lanka Joint Commission, which concluded successfully on 7 June.

The Fourth Session of the Joint Commission was held from 6-7 June at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka. On the sidelines of this session, several MoUs were scheduled to be signed between the two countries.

This Joint Session has provided both countries with several opportunities in the form of possible expansion of cooperation in tourism and fisheries. In addition, several agreements were signed to facilitate trade and investment in the Maldives.

To present Sri Lanka as an educational hub for Maldivian students, the former has pledged to speed up its visa issuance process to Maldivian students under 18 years on concessionary terms.

Maldives – Sri Lanka Joint Commission

In 1984, the Maldives-Sri Lanka Joint Commission was established under the Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement between the Maldives and Sri Lanka.

The commission deals with multifaceted areas of common interest to both sides at bilateral and multilateral fora. These areas of interest include trade, culture, employment and skills development, law enforcement, and tourism.

Inking Important Agreements

In order to foster closer ties in diverse sectors, Sri Lanka and the Maldives held discussions and signed three Memorandums of Understanding.

One of the MoUs was aimed at enhancing cultural collaboration between the two. This will also lead to cooperation in preservation, heritage conservation, and archaeology.

Along with it, another MoU was signed regarding the establishment of the Maldives Culture Centre in Sri Lanka. This was to deepen bilateral relations in the cultural sector further.

Moreover, the two sides concluded an MoU in the health sector as well, which is expected to improve the ties between the two in this field. The Maldivian government considers the provision of quality healthcare services as its priority.

Abdullah Shahid Called on the Prime Minister

On the sidelines of the meeting of the Joint Commission, Abdullah Shahid paid a visit to Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena on 7 June.

Discussions were held regarding deepening current relations and exploring new avenues of cooperation, particularly in the education, trade and investment, and culture sector.

Moreover, the Foreign Minister highly appreciated the educational-sector support of Sri Lanka and stressed further increasing the facilities for Maldivian students.

The Prime Minister offered the minister to send Maldivian teachers for training and knowledge enhancement to the Sri Lanka-based South Asian Teacher Training Center funded by UNESCO.