Male, 21 February 2023 (TDI): The Maldives and the United Kingdom (UK) conducted their first Strategic Dialogue at the senior official level yesterday in Male, Maldives.

The talks centered on a number of themes, including economic and trade cooperation, security cooperation, governance, democracy, human rights, and rule of law.

It also touched upon environment and climate change, higher education, visas and immigration, and regional and international cooperation.

It is pertinent to note that a hybrid framework was used for the first strategic dialogue between the UK and the Maldives. Dr. Hala Hameed, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Secretary for Bilateral Relations, led the talks from the Maldives’ perspective.

The discussions from the United Kingdom were led by Ben Mellor. Both states showed full commitment to boosting their relations.

The establishment of a Maldives-UK working group on maritime security and a working group on commerce was agreed upon by the two nations.

To formally establish the Ocean Country Partnership Scheme under the UK’s Blue Planet Fund, a Memorandum of Understanding was also inked.

The UK acknowledged the value of the Maldives as a member of the Commonwealth and a Small Island Developing State (SIDS).

Also read: UK Visa Application Center opens at Maldives Foreign Office

In this vein, both nations decided to look into ways to further strengthen their bilateral ties as well as trade opportunities that would be beneficial to both nations’ economies and encourage sustainable development.

Likewise, both parties reaffirmed the significance of continuing to expand on opportunities offered for Maldivians through the Commonwealth and Chevening Scholarships in order to strengthen cooperation on education.

The two also recognized the value of people-to-people interactions in fostering cross-national comprehension. They stressed the value of expanding cooperation, especially with regard to battling terrorism and stopping violent extremism.

The Maldives’ dedication to enhancing democratic governance, bolstering the rule of law, and promoting and protecting human rights was warmly received in the UK.

Along these lines, the UK reaffirmed its dedication to helping the Maldives in its efforts to strengthen democracy and stressed the significance of carrying out these reforms.