Nasheed to depart on first state visit to Australia

President Mohamed Nasheed will depart this evening on his first state visit to Australia, at the invitation of Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

The President is to be given a full guard of honour when he is received in the Australian capital of Canberra, where he will meet Rudd and the Governor General Quentin Bryce.

Nasheed will also meet with Maldivian students studying in Canberra.

Press Secretary for the President Mohamed Zuhair noted that the Australian government will fund most of the costs associated with the trip, aside from airfares.

“Our country is becoming increasingly important on the world stage. People now listen to what the Maldives has to say on issues of international importance,” Zuhair said.