In an exclusive interview with Daily Mirror, Maldives President Mohamed Solih who was on a recent two-day visit to Sri Lanka said the Maldives economy which was heavily dependent on its tourism industry, is on its way to recovery after being hit by the virus, and had managed to bounce back to around 70 percent of what it used to be before the pandemic.
He said despite all of this, there was still a long way to go and countries such as Sri Lanka and the Maldives needed further access to global fiscal resources to assist the ongoing economic recovery and debtforgiving initiatives to ensure sustainability of the recovery.
“I call upon the international community to continue to assist developing states like the Maldives and Sri-lanka in their economic recovery,” the President said,
Sri Lanka’s economy is also facing severe brunt with a soaring cost of living, sectors severely affected and shortage of basic essential goods and services.
Sri Lankan government officials when questioned have blamed it on the pandemic while opposition MPS have called out the government on its weak decision making.
Solih meanwhile said the Maldives will continue to engage meaningfully with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s administration to strengthen its bilateral relations and enhance bilateral cooperation on security issues between the Maldives and Sri Lanka. The Maldives President said the Maldives had entered into a tripartite agreement with Sri Lanka and India to strengthen their efforts to ensure the security of their shared marine space and this tripartite agreement allowed for cooperation on search and rescue operations, anti-piracy initiatives and monitoring of Exclusive Economic Zones.
On national security, the Maldives President said local intelligence was in reach with neighbours and international allies to anticipate and counter any potential threats to the country’s national security.
“We are living in an interdependent world, where something that happens halfway across the world might end up having security implications in our region. The kinds of threats we face continue to evolve, become more brazen and sinister in their approaches. The Maldives continues to strengthen our own capacity in addressing these challenges by increasing our intelligence capabilities,” the President said.
During his visit to the country, Solih held discussions with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.(JAMILA HUSAIN)