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Joint cooperation committee proposed during President Solih’s UAE visit

The UAE started granting 30-day on-arrival visas for Maldivians on January 1.



A Memorandum of Understanding was signed during President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s official visit to Abu Dhabi on Monday to form a Joint Cooperation Committee between the Maldives and the United Arab Emirates.

The MoU was signed by Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid and his UAE counterpart.

President Solih was invited to attend the Zayed Sustainability Awards Ceremony by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

After travelling to India last month, it was his second state visit since assuming office in November.

Solih presented the Zayed Sustainability Prize to one of the 10 winners at the 11th edition of the award ceremony, which was part of the annual Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.

At a meeting on the sidelines of the ceremony, the crown prince “reassured of commitment for continuous support to the Maldives, especially in the areas of fisheries, farming and agriculture,” according to the president’s office.

President Solih also met with UAE ministers and expressed his wish to boost the use of renewable energy in the Maldives.

UAE Minister of Energy and Industry Suhail Mohamed Faraj Al Mazrouei pledged to support renewable energy initiatives in the Maldives, noting the significant decrease in the price of electricity generated through renewable sources in recent years.

On Monday night, President Solih met Maldivians residing in the UAE. In his remarks at the function, the president thanked the Emirati government authorising 30-day on-arrival visa for Maldivian from January 1.

The UAE is one of the top trading partners of the Maldives with US$332 million worth of goods imported in 2016.

During the previous administration, an airport was developed on Maafaru island in Noonu atoll as a “gift” from the UAE, which financed the project with a US$60 million grant from the Abu Dhabi Fund.

An agreement was signed with the Abu Dhabi Fund to develop Noonu atoll as an ultra-luxury tourism zone.

The northern atoll is home to high-end resorts such as Soneva Jani, Velaa Private Island, Cheval Blanc Randheli and Sun Siyam Irufushi.

After former president Abdulla Yameen visited the oil-rich Gulf kingdom in October 2017 to discuss investments, the fourth annual Maldives Investment Forum was held in the UAE.