Sri Lankan President Maithripala Srisena arrived in Malé today to attend an official function marking the Maldives’ golden jubilee of independence from the British.
Vice president Ahmed Adeeb welcomed Sirisena upon his arrival at 2:30pm. The Sri Lankan president was greeted with a guard of honor. This is his maiden visit to the Maldives.
Some 100 foreign dignitaries have arrived in the Maldives for tonight’s official function scheduled to start at 8:30pm. Sirisena is the only head of state to attend the celebrations.
Former Maldivian Presidents, Ibrahim Nasir and Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, will receive the Golden Jubilee Shields of Honor at the Usfasgandu area tonight. Afterwards, President Abdulla Yameen and First Lady Fathimath Ibrahim will host a Presidential banquet at Dharubaaruge.
Foreign dignitaries have also been invited to a military procession and a three hour play by school students at the national stadium tomorrow night.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was scheduled to come, but had to call his visit off due to extensive flooding in Pakistan. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had declined the invitation.
Other high-profile dignitaries include; Shen Yueyue, one of the 13 vice chairpersons of the Chinese National People’s Congress’ standing committee; Jagath Nadda, the Indian health minister; Abdul Gadhir Baloch, Pakistani minister of state for state and frontier regions; Palestine and Nepali foreign ministers and ministers from Bangladesh, Mauritius and Saudi Arabia.