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Indian prime minister, ex-Sri Lankan president among visiting dignitaries

More than 300 foreign dignitaries from 46 countries were expected to attend the inauguration ceremony.



Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former Sri Lankan president Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga was among more than 300 foreign dignitaries from 46 countries who attended the inauguration of president-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

On his maiden visit to the Maldives, Modi landed at the Velana International Airport on an Air India flight around 4pm. He is due to meet President Solih before departing Saturday night.

The Indian prime minister was greeted by Speaker of Parliament Gasim Ibrahim and former MP Abdulla Shahid, who is expected to become foreign minister.

Sri Lanka’s former head of state Bandaranaike arrived Friday.

The Chinese minister of culture and tourism, Luo Shugang, arrived as a special envoy of President Xi Jinping.

Luo Shugang, Minister of Culture and Tourism as Special Envoy of the President of China

The swearing-in ceremony took place at a special parliament sitting at the national stadium in the capital Malé. Several ambassadors, senior government officials, and  councillors were invited to witness the historic event along with thousands of coalition supporters.

The visiting dignitaries will pay courtesy calls on the president and attend an official reception at the Kurumba Maldives resort island near Malé.

Other high-level dignitaries in attendance include Prince Dr. Mansour bin Miteb bin Abdul Aziz Alsaud, Advisor to the king of Saudi Arabia; Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, son of the crown prince of the UAE; Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani, Chairman of the Senate of Pakistan; Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka; Faiszer Mustapha, Minister of Provincial Councils, Local Government and Sports of Sri Lanka; Dr. Riad Malki, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the State of Palestine; Wataru Takeshita, Member of House of Representatives of Japan as Special Envoy of the Prime Minister of Japan; Mounia Boucetta, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation as Special Envoy of the King of Morocco; Mohamed Afeef, Secretary of State Cabinet Affairs of Seychelles; Yavuz Selim Kiran, Deputy Foreign Minister of Turkey, as Special Envoy of the President of Turkey; Ambassador Zoran Vujic, Political Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Special Envoy of the President of Serbia; Jean-Christophe Belliard, Deputy Secretary-General of the European Union External Action Service; Martin Chungong, Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union; and Amjad Hussain B. Sial, Secretary General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.