President returns from Australia after securing aid package

President Mohamed Nasheed has returned to the Maldives following the conclusion of his state visit to Australia.

Nasheed met with Prime Minister Rudd, and Australian Governor-General Quentin Bryce. He also held talks with other senior officials of the Australian government as well as Deputy Leader of the Opposition Liberal Party Julie Bishop.

During the President’s visit, the Australian government unveiled a new aid and assistance package of almost US$845,000, including US$422,000 to help the Maldives adapt to climate change and reduce carbon emissions, US$253,000 to support civil society groups and US$194,000 to support the Maldives national qualification framework.

Australia also announced it will help strengthen education, environment, science, health, governance and public administration in the Maldives as well as support capacity-building for the country’s democratic institutions, and offer 25 scholarships in the 2011 intake for Maldivian students to study in Australian universities.

“This is about helping the Maldives build a better future for itself. Although a small country, [the Maldives] are a part of the family of democracies around the world, and we stand shoulder to shoulder with them as a fellow democracy,” Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said.