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Maldives News Bulletin, 20-04-2008
Issue No: No.1158

The South East Asia Regional Director of the WHO calls on the President

13April: The South East Asia Regional Director of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Samlee Plianbangchang called on the President.
In the meeting held at the President’s Office, the President thanked WHO, for its assistance to the Maldives in developing and implementing various national health programs, including human resource development in the health sector.
Speaking at the meeting Dr. Samlee recalled his visit to the Maldives in 2005 following the tsunami disaster and noted the accomplishments achieved in rebuilding the Maldives within the past three years. Further Dr. Samlee noted that some of the major health risks faced by the world today is related to the climate change and highlighted the need to address this issue globally. Dr. Samlee also said that this year’s theme for the World Health Day highlights the link between human health and the climate change.
The President said the Maldives began its global climate change advocacy efforts over 20 years ago and that the current focus is to emphasise the human dimension of the problem globally. Further, the President noted that health risks associated with climate change is a matter of great concern even in the Maldives.
The call was attended by the Minister of Health, Mr. Ilyas Ibrahim, Minister for Presidential Affairs, Mr. Mohamed Hussain, Deputy Minister at the President’s Office, Dr. Hala Hameed, WHO representative in the Maldives, Dr. George Mario Luna and Director General of Health Services at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Sheena Moosa.


The New Ambassador of Spain Calls on the Foreign Minister

14 April: The new Ambassador of Spain to the Maldives, Mr. Ion De La Riva Guzman De Frutos, paid a courtesy call on H. E. Mr. Abdulla Shahid, Minister of Foreign Affairs. The meeting was held at the Foreign Ministry.
During the call, Minister Shahid welcomed the Ambassador to the Maldives and briefed him on the recent Resolution initiated by the Maldives on Climate Change and Human Rights at the Human Rights Council. Foreign Minister further elaborated on the challenges faced by the Maldives as a low-lying small island state due to climate change. The Minister and the Ambassador also discussed issues of common interest to both countries.
The Spanish Ambassador also met with Ms Dunya Maumoon, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Abdul Azeez Yoosuf, and Ambassador of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other senior officials of the Ministry.
 Diplomatic relations between the Maldives and the Spain was established on 25 August 1979.



The New Ambassador of Sweden Calls on the Foreign Minister


14 April: The new Swedish Ambassador to the Maldives, Mr Lars-Olof Lindgren, paid a courtesy call on H. E. Mr. Abdulla Shahid, Minister of Foreign Affairs. The meeting was held at the Foreign Ministry.
 During the call the Minister welcomed Ambassador Lindgren to the Maldives and expressed hope in working with the Ambassador to further strengthen the bilateral relations that exist between the Maldives and Sweden.
Discussions were also held on the progress of the ongoing reform agenda particularly on the status of the work of the Special Majlis in drafting the new Constitution and the challenges faced by the Maldives as a low-lying small island state due to the adverse effects of climate change.
The new Ambassador also met with Ms Dunya Maumoon, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Abdul Azeez Yoosuf, and Ambassador of the Foreign Ministry and other senior officials of the Ministry.
Diplomatic relations between the Maldives and the Sweden was established on 21 August 1978.



The new High Commissioner of New Zealand and the new Ambassadors of Spain and Sweden presents their credentials to the President

14 April: The new High Commissioner of New Zealand, Mr. Martin Wilfred Harvey, the Ambassador designated to the Maldives by the Spanish government, Mr. Ion de la Riva Guzman de Frutos and the Ambassador designated to the Maldives by the Swedish government, Mr. Lars-Olaf Lindgren presented their credentials to the President. The three new diplomats presented their credentials in three separate ceremonies held at the President’s Office.
After the presentations, the President met with the three diplomats separately and discussed ways of further strengthen bilateral ties between the Maldives and the respective countries.
The diplomats noted the progress of the President’s democratic reform agenda in the Maldives.
The three ceremonies were attended by the Minster of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Abdulla Shahid, Minister for Presidential Affairs, Mr. Mohamed Hussain, and the Deputy Minister at the President's Office, Dr. Hala Hameed.



Foreign Minister commences official visit to Turkey

 
15 April: H. E. Mr. Abdulla Shahid, Minister of Foreign Affairs arrived yesterday in Turkey on a four day official visit. Upon arrival in the Turkish city of Istanbul, Minister Shahid was received at Ataturk International Airport by H. E. Mr Cafer Yildiz Vali Yardimicisi, Vice Governor of Istanbul and Mr. Ahmet Damerbag, Ambassador at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey and Mr Nihat Boytuzun, Honorary Consul General of the Maldives in the Republic of Turkey.

The Minister subsequently traveled to the capital Ankara for official engagements.Later in the afternoon he paid homage to the founding father of modern Turkey, Mustapha Kemal Ataturk with a formal wreath laying ceremony at Ataturk’s mausoleum or Anitkabir.

The Minister is scheduled to meet senior officials in the Turkish government including H. E. President Abdullah Gul and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan tomorrow. The Minister is accompanied by Mr Abdul Azeez Yoosuf, Ambassador at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Mr Ibrahim Hood, Director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.



The Government of China donates athletic equipment to the Government of the Maldives

16 April: The Government of the People’s Republic of China has donated athletics equipment worth 254,000 Maldivian Rufiyaa to the Government of the Maldives. The equipment is donated to the Athletics Association of Maldives through the 'China General Administration of Sports’, the governmental agency in charge of sports in China.

The athletics equipment donation from China is targeted to train Maldivian athletes throughout the Maldives. The equipment include includes discus, relay batons, Javelins, Shot, High jump bed, High jump posts, medicine balls, starting guns, weight jackets, stop watches & wheel measuring tapes.
According to the Maldives Embassy in China, the equipment shipment is expected to arrive in the Maldives by later this month.
Diplomatic relations between the Maldives and the People’s Republic of China was established on 14 October 1972.



The Maldives signs comprehensive cooperation agreement with Turkey

16 April: The Government of Maldives has today signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Comprehensive Cooperation with the Government of the Republic of Turkey. His Excellency Abdullah Shahid, Minister of Foreign Affairs, signed the agreement on behalf of the Maldivian Government while his Turkish counterpart, Foreign Minister His Excellency Mr. Ali Babacan signed the MoU on behalf of the Turkish Government at a special ceremony held at the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Under the auspices of the MoU, the two countries agreed towards greater coordination and information sharing in their bilateral, regional and international initiatives. The agreement also paves the way for increased cooperation between the Maldives and Turkey in a diverse range of fields including development cooperation, trade, tourism, and combating terrorism.
Speaking to members of the Turkish press attending the ceremony, Minister Shahid thanked the Turkish government for its numerous contributions to the development efforts of the Maldives and expressed his confidence that this MoU would mark a new and important milestone in Maldives-Turkey relations.
Prior to the signing ceremony, Minister Shahid held formal official talks with Foreign Minister Babcan. Among the salient issues discussed were issues of international and bilateral significance including support for the various international initiatives of both countries. Both parties agreed on the need for greater interaction in trade and tourism and Minister Shahid proposed dispatching a private sector trade and tourism delegation from the Maldives to Turkey with a view towards exploring trade and tourism opportunities. The Minister also proposed an air services agreement between the Maldives and Turkey to facilitate even greater-people to people cooperation.
The Turkish government responded favorably to these requests ad further more agreed to increase assistance to the Maldives with particular emphasis on human resource development.
 
Later in the afternoon the Minister also held meetings with His Excellency Mr. Mustafa Said Yazicioglu, Minister in charge of Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency and Mr Huseyn Celik, Minister of National Education. During these two meetings held at the respective ministries, Minister Shahid briefed the Turkish Ministers on  the development requirements of the Maldives and discussed possible avenues in which Turkey could assist the maldives. Both Ministers agreed in principleto mutually explore appropriate modalities through future assistance from Turkey could be rendered to the Maldives.
Minister Shahid was accompanied to all official engagements by Mr Abdul Azeez yoosuf, Ambassador and Mr. Ibrahim Hood, Director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
 


The Minister of Foreign Affairs calls on President Abdullah Gül of Turkey

16 April: As the principal highlight of his ongoing official visit to the Republic of Turkey, Minister of Foreign Affairs His Excellency Abdulla Shahid has paid a courtesy call this afternoon on His Excellency Abdullah Gül, President of the Republic of Turkey. During the discussion, Minister Shahid conveyed the best wishes of His Excellency President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom to President Gül and formally invited President Gül to undertake an official visit to the Maldives at a mutually convenient time. The Minister highlighted on the close and cordial ties existing between the Maldives and how this visit would pave the way for even greater economic cooperation and increased trade and tourism interaction between the Maldives and Turkey.
Minister Shahid further congratulated Turkey for its significant development achievements and noted the leadership role it had taken in the initial stages of the Alliance of Civilizations, which is a UN initiative designed to facilitate greater understanding across cultures and civilizations to counter extremism. The Minister also briefed the President on the progress of political reform in the Maldives.
During his remarks, President Gül noted how Turkey considers the Maldives to be a close friend and assured that Turkey would continue to assist the Maldives in its various development efforts. Speaking on the Alliance of Civilizations, President Gül noted President Gayoom as an Islamic scholar dedicated to bringing across the true message of Islam as a religion of peace, moderation and modernity and extended a formal invitation to President Gayoom to attend the forthcoming Alliance of Civilization conference to be held in the Turkish city of Istanbul later in the year.
The meeting held at the official Presidential Residence in the capital Ankara was attended by members of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Mr. Abdul Azeez Yoosuf, Ambassador and Mr. Ibrahim Hood, Director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
 


The President extends congratulations to the Prime Minister of Italy, on his re-election

16 April: The President has sent a message of congratulations to the Prime Minister of Italy, Mr. Silvio Berlusconi, on his re-election as the Prime Minister of the country for a third term.
The President extended sincere congratulations and sincere good wishes to Prime Minister on his success and said that Prime Minister’s re-election for a third term shows the immense faith that the people of Italy had in his leadership.



The President receives the first copy of a book highlighting the progress of the health sector over the past 30 years

16 April: The President today received a book which commemorates the progress of the health sector over the past 30 years. The Minister of Health, Mr. Ilyas Ibrahim presented the President with the first copy of the publication at a meeting held at the President’s Office today.
Speaking at the ceremony, the President thanked Mr. Ilyas Ibrahim for taking the initiative to prepare such a book and for presenting him with a copy. He also thanked all those who contributed towards the production of the book. He said that such books that document the country’s progress over the years are indeed important contributions. He further said that the book would also be an important reference in the planning of future projects.
In his speech, Mr. Ilyas Ibrahim briefed the President on the contents of the book. He attributed the successful development of the country’s health sector over the past 30 years to the hard work of the people and the sagacious leadership of the President.
The ceremony was attended by the Minister for Presidential Affairs, Mr. Mohamed Hussain, the Executive Secretary to the President, Dr. Ahmed Shareef, the Executive Director at the Department of Public Health, Ms Aminath Rasheedha Aboobakuru, Director General of Health Services, Dr. Sheena Moosa, Director General at the Department of Public Health, Mr. Ibrahim Shaheem, and the Assistant Director General at the Ministry of Health, Mr. Ibrahim Solih.
 


The President appoints three Senior Ministers and four Ministers

17 April: The President today appointed three Senior Ministers and four new Ministers.
Dr. Mohamed Zahir Hussain, Mr. Abdulla Hameed, and Mr. Umar Zahir were appointed as Senior Ministers. They were serving as Special Advisors to the President.
In addition, Mr. Abdul Rasheed Hussain, Mr. Ibrahim Hussain Manik, Ms Rashida Yousuf and Mr. Abbas Ibrahim were appointed as Ministers.
The new appointees took their Oath of Office and received their Letters of Appointment at a ceremony held this morning at the President’s Office. The oath was administered by High Court Justice, Sh. Ali Hameed Mohamed.
The ceremony was attended by the Minister for Presidential Affairs, Mr. Mohamed Hussain.
The new appointees will continue to work in their respective offices.
The two remaining Special Advisors to the President, Mr. Ali Umar Maniku and Mr. Fathulla Jameel, who are overseas at present, will also take their Oaths of Office as Senior Ministers upon their return to Male’.



Maldives Ambassador Briefs Geneva NGOs on Human Rights and Climate Change

18 April: The Permanent Representative of the Maldives to the United Nations in Geneva, H.E. Mr. Abdul Ghafoor Mohamed, today briefed environmental and human rights NGOs based in Geneva on the Maldives-sponsored Human Rights Council resolution on Human Rights and Climate Change. He used the meeting to impress on civil society the need to capitalize on the one year window of opportunity provided by the Resolution by exploring and drawing attention to the human rights implications of climate change.
The meeting, organized by the Geneva Environment Network and Earth justice brought together around 50 environmental and human rights practitioners, and featured speakers from, inter alia, the United Nations Environment Programme, the Center for International Environmental Law, and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Addressing the meeting, Ambassador Ghafoor noted that:- “Although there is no internationally recognized right to a safe and sustained environment, the adoption at the Human Rights Council] of a number of environment-related resolutions nevertheless testifies to the clear and evolving link between environmental protection and the full enjoyment of human rights”.

All speakers congratulated the Maldives on the achievement of securing the Resolution. Laterin the day, Ambassador Ghafoor met with Ms. Cecilia Ugaz from the United Nations Development Programme to discuss cooperation over the next year in promoting the human dimension of global climate change.
 


Maldives Delegation participates at the Pre-UNCTAD XII Least Developed Countries’ Ministerial Meeting

19-April: A meeting of the ministers of the Least Developed Countries (LDC’s) took place today, at the sidelines of the 12th Session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD XII) which is being held from 20-25th April in Accra, the capital city of Ghana. The pre-UNCTAD XII Ministerial Meeting of LDC’s was held with the firm view that the vulnerability and the special conditions of the LDC’s must be accepted by the developed and developing countries of the world.

The declaration specifically acknowledges the challenges faced by LDC’s in integrating into the multilateral trading system and the difficulties of globalization. It also looked at various short and long term solutions to better enhance and strengthening the productive capacities of LDC’s in meeting today’s challenges in the global economy. The declaration, which was adopted by consensus at today’s meeting, was a major step for the LDC Group after months of negotiations on how best to incorporate and mainstream all the challenges faced by LDC’s.
H.E Dr.Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury, Advisor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs in his capacity as the Chairman of the LDC Group addressed the group in urging that LDC’s would need more support from their development partners and the international community as a whole if they are to be on path to economic progress. He also mentioned that LDC themselves must ensure that they have the capacity to identify areas of progress and to institutionalize these areas to increase their productive capacity to reap the full benefits of special and preferential treatments.

LDC’s are classified by the United Nations (UN) as the most vulnerable of its member states, due to their size, marginalization from the global economy and high vulnerability to external shocks. There are currently 49 LDC’s in the world of which the most fragile are considered to be Land Locked Developing Countries
The Maldives is on the path to graduation from the LDC status in 2011 and started its grace period of 3 years in January 2008.

A Maldivian delegation is currently in Accra, Ghana to participate in the proceedings of UNCTAD XII. The delegation comprise of Mr. Marc Limon, Counselor at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations Office in Geneva, Ms. Lamya Ibrahim, Deputy Director at the Foreign Investment Services Bureau, Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, and Mr. Amin Javed Faizal, Desk Officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
 

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