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Sri Lankan prime minister invited to address Maldives parliament

Ranil Wickremesinghe is due to arrive on an official visit on September 2.

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Lawmakers voted unanimously on Tuesday night to invite Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to address parliament during his official visit to the Maldives next week.

During a brief debate on the matter, MPs from all political parties backed the invitation and stressed the historically close ties with the South Asian neighbour.

Wickremesinghe is due to arrive on September 2 for an official visit on the invitation of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. He will be accompanied by a delegation of high-level officials including cabinet ministers, according to the president’s office.

“During the visit the two leaders will review the existing bilateral ties between the two countries and explore new areas for cooperation, including global matters of mutual importance,” the president’s office said on Tuesday.

The Sri Lankan prime minister will also be chairing the two-day Indian Ocean Conference 2019 scheduled to begin at the Paradise Island Resort near the capital Malé on September 3. The conference is organised by the India Foundation in association with the Maldives government and the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies of Singapore.

President Solih visited Sri Lanka in February to attend the country’s 71st Independence Day celebrations as the guest of honour. During the state visit, Solih led bilateral talks with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, and invited Sri Lankan businesses to invest in the Maldives.

“Sri Lanka is not just a neighbour; it is a country with whom we share deep similarities – language, customs, and even in our cuisine. Sri Lanka has always welcomed Maldivians,” Solih said at a meeting with Sri Lankan entrepreneurs.

“This is why Sri Lanka so often feels like home and we visit each other so often.”

The president and first lady also met the Maldivian community residing in Sri Lanka. About 15,000 Maldivians are estimated to live in the country, predominantly in the capital Colombo.

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  1. Michael Fahmy

    August 28, 2019 at 12:37 PM

    I did all my schooling in Sri Lanka and I have vivid memories of my life in Sri Lanka. The school which I attended was one of the best: St Peter’s College Colombo, a legacy of British and European colonial rule in Sri Lanka which went on deeper and longer in Sri Lanka than in Maldives. Unfortunately, just after I arrived in Sri Lanka Maldivian students in Sri Lanka stopped learning Sinhalese language. That was the decision of the Maldivian government. It was a great mistake. With hindsight I know that I should have learnt Sinhalese. My school leaving certificate was in Tamil with a later given English translation. That was also a mistake. My certificate should have been in Sinhala. Divehi language is not even remotely like Tamil.

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