Maldives participates in human rights reviews of Sri Lanka and Tonga
15 May: Permanent Representative of the Maldives to the United Nations office at Geneva, H.E. Mr. Abdul Ghafoor Mohamed has this week participated in the Universal Periodic Reviews (UPR) of Sri Lanka and Tonga at the Human Rights Council in Geneva. The Universal Periodic Review is an important new mechanism under which the human rights records of all UN Member States are assessed by their peers in the international community. During the interactive debate on the National Report of Sri Lanka, Ambassador Ghafoor expressed the Maldivesâ€™ strong support for the efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka to strengthen human rights promotion and protection under very difficult security circumstances: â€śAs a close neighbor and friend, having extensively rich and varied historical cultural and social ties that extend over centuries past, Maldives is only too aware of the many challenges faced by the Government of Sri Lanka as it tries to balance its national security needs and ensuring the protection and promotion of its human rights obligations to all its citizen, while combating one of the most ruthless and deadliest terrorist organizations in the world. This situation was further exacerbated by the terrible devastation and destruction caused by the tsunami of December 2004, from which the country is still recovering. Maldives takes note of the many commitments made, and efforts underway, by the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure the continued protection and promotion of human rights of its people. Sri Lanka has taken a number of important steps to better guarantee its human rights obligations, and identified key priority areas of action for the future. It is evident that Sri Lanka will need the continued understanding, empathy, support and assistance of the international community as it tries to achieve the goals it has set forth for itself. My delegation hopes and it confident that the international community will be forthcoming in its response. Maldives especially welcomes the Sri Lankan Governmentâ€™s commitment to pluralism and notes the recently initiated targeted recruitment of policemen and women from a minority community. We recommend that Sri Lanka pursue this initiative and move to greater integration of all communities in the public and security services. Maldives would like to take this opportunity to wish the Government and people of Sri Lanka an early and everlasting peaceful solution to the deadly conflict that has brought so much misery and suffering to its people, and hindered the realization of the countryâ€™s full developmental potential for many yearsâ€ť, concluded the Ambassador. Maldivesâ€™ participation in the review of Tonga reflects the common challenges faced by the two countries as Small Island Developing States with limited human and technical resources. Tongaâ€™s Review is the first of a Small Island State. Maldives will be reviewed in late 2010.Ambassador Ghafoor saidâ€ś As the Government of Tonga makes clear throughout the report, two of the key challenges it faces are to strengthen human rights protection while respecting and promoting its proud cultural heritage; and secondly to take such steps in the face of extreme human and technical resource constraints. Indeed, such challenges are common to many Small Island States and we urge Members of the Council to be sensitive to this fact when conducting todayâ€™s Review. Considering the resource constraints faced by Small Island States such as Tonga, it is vital that relevant international organizations and donor states engage positively and constructively to help the country undertake the reforms that it itself identifies as
imperative in its own National Report. In the human rights field, there are considerable resources that can be made available to Tonga in order to strengthen national policy, institutions and practice. For example, United Nations Special Reporters can offer invaluable, impartial expert advice in areas such as press freedom, judicial independence, and womenâ€™s rights. Likewise, human rights Treaty Body recommendations can act as a catalyst and guide to encourage international donors and agencies, including the OHCHR, to engage and extend much-needed financial and technical assistanceâ€ť.
â€śThe entire nation is indebted to all those who had to retire from the Government following the enforcement of the Maldivesâ€™ Civil Service Actâ€ť, says the President
16 May: The President last night said that the Government and people of Maldives were indebted to all those who had to retire from the Government following the enforcement of the Maldivesâ€™ Civil Service Act. Speaking at the function held last night at Dharubaaruge for the President to meet with all those who had to retire from the Government from 1st of this month, the President paid tribute to all the retirees for their sincere and valuable services that they had rendered to the country and the people. â€śServing the Government is serving the people, and serving the people is a service to the entire nationâ€ť, he said. The President said that it was very unfortunate that so many hard working Government employees were forced into retirement under the Civil Service Act without adequate notice. â€śMost of you have spent the vast majority of your life serving the Government with the utmost sincerity and loyalty, and the tremendous change brought about by the sudden retirement is certain to bring with it deep emotions of sorrow and emptinessâ€ť, the President highlighted. â€śThe reason why I want to meet you personally was to extend my deep sympathy to all of you, and to assure you, as President I will continue to work for your welfare and well-beingâ€ť, the President said. At last nightâ€™s function, plaques of honor were presented to all the retirees who had served the Government for over 50 years. The Presentations were made by President Gayoom. Speaking on behalf of all retirees, Mr. Saikuraa Ibrahim Naeem emphasized the priority the Government continues to attach to long serving and experienced Government employees. At last nightâ€™s function, the President personally met with the retirees and thanked them for their service and inquired about their well-being. The Government has also decided to present a Certificate of Appreciation to all those who had retired under the Maldivesâ€™ Civil Service Act.
The Government of China hands over athletic equipment to the Government of the Maldives
18 May: The Government of the Peopleâ€™s Republic of China has handed over 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 Sportsâ€™, the governmental agency in charge of sports in China. The ceremony to hand over the equipments was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.Mr. Zoo Jinpu, Economic and commercial Consular of the China Embassy handed over the equipment. Dr. Hussain Niyaz, Executive Director at The Department of External Resources accepted the donation on behalf of the Maldives Government. The athletics equipment donation from China is targeted to train Maldivian athletes throughout the Maldives. China has been an important partner for the development of Maldives. The assistance given by China includes, aid given for Tsunami Disaster of 2004. The ongoing assistances of China include the new national museum project and office automation equipment given to the new building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Diplomatic relations between the Maldives and the Peopleâ€™s Republic of China was established on 14 October 1972.
The President sends a message of good wishes to the President of China
18 May: The President has extended good wishes to the President of China, Mr. Hu Jintao, for the forthcoming Olympic Games 2008.
The Presidentâ€™s message reads as follows;
â€śThe Government and the people of the Maldives join me in extending our sincere good wishes to your Excellency, the government and the friendly people of China, for the forthcoming Olympic Games which is going to be held from 8 to 24 August 2008 in Beijing. We hope that the Beijing Games would be successful in accomplishing its goals in bringing together the Olympic family and move a step ahead in contributing to a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sports practiced in the true Olympic spirit. We wish the upcoming Olympic Games every success in creating a unique legacy to sports and to China.â€ť
The President inaugurates the â€śPartnering for a Safer Seaâ€ť Conference
19 May: The President today inaugurated the â€śPartnering for a Safer Seaâ€ť Conference. In his Inaugural Address at the Opening Ceremony of the Conference held in Sun Island Resort, the President said that it was a great honor for the Maldives to host a regional conference of such importance and expressed his sincere hope that this conference will be a very successful one. In his speech, the President noted that each and every country in the region, as well as trading partners and those who utilize the Indian Ocean as a vital transit route for cargo, has a stake in this drive towards safer and more secure seas. The President also said those threats such as piracy, poaching, terrorism, environmental degradation and trafficking of drugs and illegal traffic of arms and humans are steadily growing in the Indian Ocean and that these contemporary problems have to be addressed urgently and effectively. Addressing the drug trafficking issue,
The President said as follows:
â€śTo the Maldives, though, there is no issue that generates greater concern and warrants more effective action than drug trafficking. It has become a major security concern for us. We have extensive and extremely porous borders in the Indian Ocean. We are therefore extremely vulnerable.â€ť
The President also said that, there are valid reasons to believe that a large amount of drugs that are smuggled into the country enter through seaports and that we must greatly improve vigilance at the seaports. He further said that the Maldives needs the support and assistance of the international community to face such challenges effectively. The President concluded his visit to Sun Island Resort this afternoon.
The President meets with the US Ambassador to the Maldives
19 May: The President today met with the US Ambassador to the Maldives, Mr. Robert Blake Jr.. The meeting was held at the Sun Island Resort after the Opening Ceremony of the â€śPartnering for a Safer Seaâ€ť Conference. In the meeting held this afternoon, the President and the US Ambassador spoke on the close relations existing between the Maldives and the United States. Speaking at the meeting, the President highlighted the friendly relations between the United States and the Maldives, and thanked the US Government for the assistance and support given to the Maldives in developmental efforts. The President briefed the Ambassador on the progress of the Reform Agenda and the first multiparty presidential election, to be held later this year. The US ambassador wished success to the Presidentâ€™s Reform Agenda and noted that inaugurating the â€śPartnering for a Safer Seaâ€ť Conference by the President signifies the importance that he attaches to the safety and security of maritime activities. The meeting was attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Abdulla Shahid, Minister at the Presidentâ€™s Office, Ms Aneesa Ahmed, Executive Secretary to the President, Dr. Ahmed Shareef, Deputy Minister at the Presidentâ€™s Office, Dr. Hala Hameed, Rear Admiral of US Coast Guard, Mr. Craig Bone and Economic Officer of the Embassy of the United States of America in Sri Lanka, Ms Danae Busa.
DhiTV starts broadcasting test signal
19 May: Maldives Broadcasting Companyâ€™s DhiTV has started broadcasting its test signal. This is the first time that a private company in Maldives has broadcast a TV signal. The Managing Director of the Company Ibrahim Khaleel said DhiTVâ€™s test signal had begun on Friday and could be seen by MediaNet and B-Net cable subscribers, channel 50 and 3 respectively. â€śThe test signal is being sent to check the audio visual quality and to confirm other technical stuff,â€ť he said. â€śOccasionally you might see someone speaking live on the channel, thatâ€™s just for testing though.â€ť He added that they might occasionally show songs on the channel also for testing purposes. Khaleel said that although the test signal had begun transmitting it was still not confirmed when the official launching of the service will be. He said that once the test signal had served its purpose and they had managed to gather all the information they required from it, an official launch date would be announced. The Maldives Broadcasting Company has said that DhiTV will show news, current affairs programs, sports, entertainment shows and programs aimed towards creating awareness about different issues, and programs aimed specifically for the youth. â€śOur programs will be aimed towards all age denominations and both genders,â€ť said Khaleel, who is also a senior official at the DhiFM radio channel. The company also said that even though currently they were providing the service via cable TV networks, in the future they planned to broadcast via satellite too. â€śWe are finishing up the technical aspects of the project,â€ť Khaleel said. â€śEverything from stage designing, equipment installation, testing is all being done by Maldivians.â€ť The Maldives Broadcasting Company was licensed to broadcast by the Information Ministry in December last year. They began sending their test TV signal five months after. The Information Ministry has also issued broadcasting licenses to Villa TV and Atoll TV.
The Maldives and the Principality of Andorra establishes Diplomatic Relations
20 May: The Republic of Maldives and the Principality of Andorra established Diplomatic relations, yesterday. The Joint CommuniquĂ© formalizing diplomatic relations between the two countries was signed on behalf of the Maldivian Government, by H.E. Mr Ahmed Khaleel, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations and by H.E. Mr Carles Font-Rossell, Permanent Representative of the Principality of Andorra to the United Nations, on behalf of the Andorra Government. The ceremony was held at the Permanent Mission of the Principality of Andorra to the United Nations in New York. The Principality of Andorra is the 144th country to establish diplomatic relations with the Maldives. Andorra is a small country in Western Europe with its economy vastly dependant on tourism. The Principality of Andorra gained its independence in 1278 by the signing of a ParĂ©age, which provided Andorraâ€™s sovereignty.
SAFF Championship 08: Maldives beat FK Dubnica in their first friendly
Second half goals from Ali Ashfaag and Ahmed Thoriq earned Maldives a 2-0 win over Slovakian league side FK Dubnica tonight. Maldives side, preparing for the upcoming SAFF championship, was tested well by the European side and they provided the kind of challenge the local boys have been waiting before the championship. Dubnica tried their first attempt in the 10th minutes of the game, but Plevaâ€™s perfect cross was fisted away by Imran preventing the ball falling into their two strikers waiting inside the box.
A minute later on the other end of the field, Ashfaag executed a powerful shot that missed the target by inches. In the 17th minute Ashfaag created the best chance where he dribbled past two defenders and even beat the keeper but the poor final touch sent the ball over the cross bar. Seven minutes later Zaptoka Lucas outclassed three Maldivian defenders and took the shot, which Imran dived and sent to a corner. Just after ten minutes into the second half, Jankech turned this around bringing Ammaty, Umair and Thoriq for Ashfaan, Akram and Ali Umar respectively. Three minutes before an hour mark, Ashfaag broke the dead lock through his shot inside Dubnica penalty area. Keeper couldnâ€™t do anything to stop the ball that hit the corner. Adam Lareef was brought in for Adam Shareef in the 70th minute and two minutes later Mohamed Shifan replaced Shinaz Hilmy. Ten minutes before full time, Dubnica went close to get the equalizer but Obert Igorâ€™s header was denied by the cross bar. In the 83rd minute, Ahmed Thoriq doubled the lead through Ashfaagâ€™s well timed pass. Thoriq, who was all alone in the penalty area, beat the keeper before sending the ball into the back of the net. The two sides will meet again four days later on 24th of this month, which will be the last game Maldives will play before the SAFF championship.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights thanks Maldives for Financial Support
20 May: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs today received a letter from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights thanking the Maldives Government for its â€śsignificant supportâ€ť for the work of the UNâ€™s primary human rights protection agency. The letter follows the Maldives Governmentâ€™s decision, conveyed to the High Commissioner Ms. Louise Arbour on 15th April, to respond positively to the High Commissionerâ€™s appeal for broader international support for the OHCHRâ€™s work in this the sixtieth anniversary year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The letter conveyed the High Commissionerâ€™s â€śsincere gratitude to the Government of Maldives for this significant expression of support for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations human rights programmeâ€ť. Speaking after receipt of the letter, H.E. Mr. Abdulla Shahid said: â€śThe Maldives enjoys excellent cooperation relations with the High Commissioner, Ms. Louise Arbour, and with her Office. The fruits of that cooperation are plain for all to see here in the Maldives where, with the OHCHRâ€™s ongoing support as epitomized by the presence of a dedicated UN Human Rights Advisor, the country is taking remarkable strides to build a better society based on the principles encapsulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rightsâ€ť. â€śThe Maldives highly values the OHCHRâ€™s work in the Maldives and believes that similar cooperation with other countries around the world has the potential to significantly improve global human rights protection to the benefit of all mankind. This belief in the importance of the work of the OHCHR and the broader UN system in the area of human rights, together with a sense that all countries no matter their size should play a part in supporting that work, lay behind the Governmentâ€™s decision to respond positively to the High Commissioner global appeal for financial supportâ€ť. In addition to extending financial assistance to the OHCHR, the Maldives Government also announced on 15th April that it had contributed financially to a new United Nations torture prevention fund which will be administered through the new UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture (SPT). The SPT is mandated to visit places of detention around the world to build capacity for the prevention of torture. In December, the Maldives become the first country in Asia to receive the SPT following the Governmentâ€™s decision in 2006 to accede to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT). The Maldives is one of the original 20 States Parties to the OPCAT and is the first country in Asia to accede to the agreement.
Mr. Kofi Annan calls President Gayoom to personally extend invitation to â€śThe Human Face of Climate Changeâ€ť
20 May: Former UN Secretary General Mr. Kofi Annan called President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom last night at around 7.00 pm in the evening to personally extend an invitation for him to attend the Global Humanitarian Forumâ€™s Annual Meeting 2008 â€śThe Human Face of Climate Changeâ€ť, to be held in Geneva, on the 24th and 25th of June 2008. Mr. Annan noted that he was personally inviting key personalities around the world who had contributed significantly to advocating for greater international attention addressing climate change and particularly in highlighting the Human Dimension. President Gayoom thanked Mr. Annan noting that it was an honor for him to be invited to such a prestigious and important gathering. President Gayoom is being extended a personal invitation by Kofi Annan to take part in the high level inaugural session as one of the select few panelists of internationally renowned personalities from government, big businesses, civil society etc. The Global Humanitarian Forum had noted that President Gayoom represents the Head of State of a country extremely vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, and yet had contributed so little if any to the worldâ€™s carbon footprint. The Conference to be held in Geneva in late June will be about finding practical solutions and discussing how funds can be directed towards clean energy and towards achieving the MDGs. The Global Humanitarian Forum is a newly founded NGO by the Swiss government and a group of senior leaders from the academic, business, government, international and civil society fields. Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan serves as the President of the Forum. The Maldives has in recent months advocated internationally for greater attention to the human impact of climate change. In March 2008 a Maldives led resolution calling for further study on the inter-linkages between Climate Change and Human Rights were adopted by consensus at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
The President meets with the Deputy Secretary-General of UNTWO
21 May: The President today met with the Deputy Secretary-General of UNTWO, Dr. Taleb Rifai. Dr. Rifai is visiting the Maldives for the Executive Training Programme of UNTWO, which is to be held in Paradise Island Resort. Speaking at the meeting, Dr. Rifai applauded the initiatives implemented by the Government for the rapid development of tourism in the Maldives and noted that the Maldives has attained international glory and recognition in this sector. Further Dr. Rifai noted the Governmentâ€™s efforts to maintain sustainable eco-friendly tourism in the Maldives. Dr. Rifai also said that the Maldives was chosen to host such a training programme was of the countryâ€™s successful developmental efforts in the sector. The President briefed Dr. Rifai on the Third Tourism Master Plan and actions undertaken and ongoing proceedings for the development of the tourism industry. He also said that the Government attaches a high importance to develop the sector to generate greater benefits and prosperity to the Maldivian public and preservation and protection of the countryâ€™s environment will be a key priority in the continued development of the industry. The meeting was attended by the Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Dr. Mahamood Shouqee, the Executive Secretary to the President, Dr. Ahmed Shareef, Deputy Minister at the Presidentâ€™s Office, Dr. Hala Hameed, Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Dr. Abdulla Mausoom and the UNTWO Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific, Mr. Xu Jing.
The President and the Japanese Ambassador to the Maldives lay the foundation stone of the second girlsâ€™ secondary school in the Maldives
21 May 2008, Maleâ€™: The President of the Republic of Maldives, H.E. Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and the Japanese Ambassador to the Maldives, Mr. Kiyoshi Araki today laid the foundation stone of the second girlsâ€™ secondary school in the Maldives. The ground breaking ceremony was held in Thaajudeen School, Maleâ€™. Speaking at the ceremony, the President emphasized the close bilateral ties between the Maldives and Japan and further noted the assistance the Japanese Government continues to provide to the socio-economic development of the Maldives. The President stated that gifting the school to the Maldives by the Japanese Government was a gesture of goodwill and reflected the close relations between the two countries. The President further expressed hope that such assistance programmes will further strengthen the friendship and bilateral cooperation in the years ahead. The President also thanked the Japanese Government on behalf of the Government and people of the Maldives. The Government of Japan has played an important role in developing the education sector of the Maldives. Under the various aid and assistance initiatives by the Government of Japan, the Maldives had benefited greatly in educational infrastructure development and capacity building. At present, there are 4 schools in Maleâ€™ which were built under the different Japanese development programmes. Japan is a key development and trade partner of the Maldives.
Maldives Joins Calls for Global Action on Soaring Food Prices
22 May: The Government of the Maldives today joined other world governments in calling for urgent action in response to the twin threat of reduced food availability and soaring prices. Speaking during a UN Human Rights Council Special Session debate on â€śthe negative impact on the realization of the right to food of the worsening of the world food crisis, caused inter alia by soaring food pricesâ€ť, the Maldives Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, H.E. Mr. Abdul Ghafoor Mohamed, informed delegates that the Maldives â€śwhich is characterized by very small dispersed coral islands, is particularly vulnerable due to its reliance on food imports. This situation means that the Maldives is particularly concerned by, the shortages of food supplies and the related rise in world food pricesâ€ť. â€śThere is no doubt that these price increases have significant implications for the right of everyone to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself or herself and his or her family, including food; and also the right of every person to be free from hunger. The increases will also hinder the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. At the end of the debate, the Human Rights Council adopted a Resolution, co-sponsored by the Maldives, which expresses grave concern at the worsening of the world food crisis and its effect on the realization of the right to food, and calls on all States to work together to tackle the problem, starting with a High-Level Conference on World Food Security and the Challenges of Climate Change and Bio-energy that will take place in Rome in early June.
The President says the College of Islamic Studies and its forerunner the Institute of Islamic Studies earned enormous public admiration for its pivotal role in advancing Islamic and Arabic education in the Maldives
22 May: The President last night said that the College of Islamic Studies and its forerunner the Institute of Islamic Studies has earned enormous public respect and admiration for its long-standing pivotal role in advancing Islamic and Arabic education in the Maldives. He made the statement at the graduation ceremony for the Collegeâ€™s latest undergraduate degree courses in Islamic Shariah and Law and Islamic Studies. The President, who has long been a lecturer in the Islamic Shariah and Law course, spoke on the importance of following a curriculum that strictly adheres to the guiding principles of Islam. He noted the high priority attached in Islam to egalitarianism and upholding individual rights and liberties. He expressed concern over the rising confusion among some sections of society over these tenets and principles. â€śIslam is a religion of tolerance and peace. It is a religion that calls for compassion. Islam strongly discourages confrontation, discord and repressionâ€ť, he highlighted in his speech. The graduates of the two courses were announced by the President of the College Council, Mr. Abdulla Hameed. The degrees were conferred on the 66 graduates by President Gayoom. He also distributed prizes to the top students in both courses. At last nightâ€™s ceremony, the President was presented with a commemorative plaque by the Dean of the College, Mr. Ibrahim Rasheed Moosa. The welcome remarks were delivered by Dean Ibrahim Rasheed Moosa, while Ismail Waheed delivered the vote-of-thanks on behalf of the graduates.
The President launches the Maldives Drug Control Master Plan 2008-2012
22 May: The President today launched the Maldives Drug Control Master Plan 2008-2012, at a ceremony held this afternoon at the Faculty of Health Sciences. The Master Plan aims to control the spread in narcotic drugs and related criminal activities in the country. Speaking at the launch, the President highlighted the importance of successfully implementing the Master Plan, and emphasized the need to building partnerships among government agencies, civil society organizations, the corporate sector and members of the general public in dealing with this pressing social problem. The President highlighted that he would personally oversee the implementation of the Master Plan, in collaboration with the concerned Government agencies. â€śDrug abuse is today among the biggest problems facing the country. While narcotic drugs have not been fully eradicated from any country, it is not an excuse for inaction. We must redouble our efforts to fight against this menace, and success hinges on multi-agency and multi-sector cooperation. Each and every one of us bear a share of the responsibility in rooting out drugs from our societyâ€ť, he said. The President emphasized the need for stricter enforcement of existing laws in punishing drugs traffickers, smugglers and dealers. Similarly, those that fall prey to drug addiction must be treated and rehabilitated with urgency. â€śThe Government alone cannot solve this problem. We need your support and assistanceâ€ť, he urged. In todayâ€™s ceremony, the President was presented with a commemorative plaque by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC). The presentation was made by the UNODC Regional Representative, Mr. Gary Louis. The UNODC also presented commemorative plaques to the Minister of Gender and Family and the National Narcotics Control Bureau (NNCB). The Government of Maldives also presented a commemorative plaque to Mr. Gary Louis. The presentation was made by the President. The Minister of Gender and Family, Ms Aishath Mohamed Didi, the Regional Representative of UNODC, Mr. Gary Louis and the Deputy Executive Director at the NNCB, Mr. Ameen Ibrahim also spoke at the ceremony.
Maldives and South Korea agree to strengthen bilateral cooperation
23 May: His Excellency Mr. Abdulla Shahid, Minister of Foreign Affairs and His Excellency Mr. Yu Myung-hwan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea has agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation. In a meeting held between Minister Shahid and his South Korean counterpart today, discussions focused on the close bilateral relations between the two countries and ways of further consolidating these ties. In the meeting, which took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Seoul, the two Ministers discussed the possibilities of building cooperation mainly in the field of technical, vocational training and human resource development. Minister Shahid expressed confidence that the discussions would bring the close relations between the two countries to new heights leading to greater collaborations between the two countries in the future. In his remarks at the meeting, Minister Yu noted the close relations between the two countries and assured that the Republic of Korea would give positive consideration to the discussions. Minister Shahid further briefed Minister Yu on the progress of the ongoing reform agenda and highlighted the importance given by the Maldives to environment and climate change. Minister Yu stressed the strong support and commitment of the Government of the Republic of Korea to the protection of environment and issues of climate change. Minister Yu also expressed hope for continued cooperation and collaboration on international issues of mutual concern. Todayâ€™s meeting was attended by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr.Abdulla Hameed, and Director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Fathmath Inaya and Director at the Department of External Resources, Ms. Aishath Azeema. Later in the day Foreign Minister Shahid ended his two-day official visit to South Korea and departed to China, as part of his current tour of bilateral visits.