New Moroccan Ambassador to the Maldives, Larbi Moukhariq, presented his credentials to President Mohamed Nasheed at the President’s Office yesterday afternoon.
President Nasheed and Ambassador Moukhariq discussed ways of strengthening bilateral relations between the countries and on expanding areas of cooperation, such as tourism, commerce, education and climate change, including renewable energies.
President Nasheed noted the strong historic relations between the two countries and said they were good development partners.
Ambassador Moukhariq assured the president of his country’s commitment to further strengthen relations with the Maldives.
Ambassador Moukhariq is also ambassador to India, and dean of the Arab Diplomatic Corps.
New Sudanese Ambassador to the Maldives, Khidir Haroun Ahmed, presented his credentials to President Mohamed Nasheed yesterday.
President Nasheed and Ambassador Ahmed discussed possible areas of cooperation between the two countries, and focused on how the Maldives and Sudan could strengthen cooperation to combat climate change.
Ambassador Ahmed is also serving as ambassador to Sri Lanka and was former ambassador to the United States.
The Maldivian government has signed a contract with Dutch Docklands of the Netherlands to develop a floating golf course and hotel in the Maldives.
Minister of Trade and Economy Mohamed Rasheed signed the contract on behalf of the Maldives, and Chief Executive Officer Wen Di Cam signed on behalf of Dutch Docklands.
President of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed and Ambassador of the Netherlands to the Maldives Leoni Margaretha Cuelenaere attended the ceremony held at the President’s Office on 4 March when the agreement was signed.
Cam said the Docklands was proud to develop the floating centres in the Maldives and the company would seek a good location for the development.
He said the company would start the project as soon as possible after doing the necessary studies.
Press Secretary for the President’s Office Mohamed Zuhair said the project would be “very beneficial for the country.”
He added that it would increase the number of tourists visiting the country.
”Most of our resorts do not have a golf centre due to lack of space,” Press Secretary Zuhair said, noting that ”Golf has a good market in the world.”
Deputy Minister for Environment Mohamed Shareef said the floating golf centres would be “much better and more environmentally friendly than reclaiming land.”
Shareef noted the floating developments would be stabilised by anchoring.
”It would not be very harmful for the environment,” he said, ”the only damage is that it will block the sunlight from the stones and corals.”
He added that there were showcases of floating centres made by the same company in Australia.
”They are now developing such centres in the Middle East,” said Shareef. ”We would not compromise our environment for anything.”
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is responsible for conducting environmental impact assessments, has not yet been consulted on the project according to its director Mohamed Zuhair.
The project would “definitely have negative environmental impacts”, he said, but added that “it is not for the EPA to assess the risks of this project at this stage. The contractor [Dutch Docklands] is responsible for finding a suitable consultant to assess the risks.”
Zuhair said once project proposal by Dutch Docklands’ is finished, it will be submitted to the EPA who will then screen the project. The EPA will then provide an environmental assessment report.
“They can only start actual work once they have EPA approval,” he noted.
Director of environmental NGO Bluepeace, Ali Rilwan, said as long as the project was conducted in an environmentally friendly manner he thought it was “very exciting” and “innovative and weird”.
“I don’t think there should be a problem,” he said, “but it depends on how they do it.”
The new ambassador of Slovak Republic to the Maldives, Marián Tomášik, has presented his credentials to President Mohamed Nasheed at a ceremony held at the President’s Office yesterday afternoon.
The president and new ambassador discussed bilateral relations and the strengthening of ties between the two countries. Enhancing tourism cooperation between the two nations was a priority.
President Nasheed also mentioned the Maldives seeking membership of the UN Human Rights Council, and sought support of the Slovak Republic in achieving candidature. The president said human rights was the main agenda of the democratic reforms in the Maldives.
Ambassador Tomášik assured the president of his “full commitment” for further strengthening relations between both countries.