President councludes European tour in Finland

During the last days of his European tour, President Mohamed Nasheed met with the Speaker of Finnish Parliament Sauli Niinistö, Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Stubb, and former President Martti Ahtisaari.

President Nasheed spoke to the Speaker about inter-parliamentary cooperation between the Finnish Parliament and the People’s Majlis.

The president also met with a parliamentary association of scientists and deputies.

President Nasheed then met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs. They discussed the importance of EU’s leadership in tackling climate change.

The president met with former Finnish President and NObel Peace Prize laureate Martti Ahtisaari. They spoke of President Ahtisaari’s Crisis Management Initiative (CMI), which works on peace-building and conflict resolution.

President Nasheed also signed an MoU with Winwind, a Finnish company that builds latest-generation wind turbines, to begin work on a wind farm in the Maldives.

President Nasheed returned to Malé on the afternoon of 18 March.

The president said his European trip was very successful and he hoped it would bring more assistance to the Maldives.


President Nasheed meets Finnish counterpart

President Mohamed Nasheed arrived in Finland yesterday morning, continuing his European tour.

President Nasheed met with Finnish President Tarja Halonen. The two presidents discussed climate change and democracy.

A press conference was held after the meeting, where President Halonen welcomed President Nasheed and expressed confidence that his visit would strengthen relations between the two countries.

President Halonen said climate change was a great issue to Finland and they were willing to work with the Maldives to find a solution.

President Nasheed congratulated the Finnish president in her strive to promote women’s rights and said the Maldives was committed in promoting gender equality.

President Nasheed said democracy and good governance were as important as financial assistance in combating climate change. He said citizens as well as governments needed to strive to protect the environment.

President Nasheed also spoke of establishing democracy in the Maldives and said he was confident Finland would support the Maldives in consolidating and strengthening its democracy.

President Nasheed will meet the Minister of Public Administration and Local Government, Mari Kiviniemi and representatives of the Finnish tourism and business sectors.

He will also participate in a seminar on climate change and leadership which is being organised by the Finnish Institute of International Affairs.


President meets with major human rights NGOs in Geneva

President Mohamed Nasheed met with officials from major human rights NGOs in Geneva as part of his European tour.

The meeting was attended by Mark Thompson from the Association for the Prevention of Torture; Julie De Reveiro from Human Rights Watch; Jan Borgen from Amnesty International; Wilbur Taylor from International Commission of Jurists; and Mohamed Mustapha Kabbaj from Nord-Sud XXI, a Swiss-based NGO aiming to “provide a voice…to people not normally represented in international forums”.

The meeting focused mainly on extending NGO support in the Maldives and strengthening the role of civil society in their respective areas, especially those dealing with protecting and promoting human rights.

President Nasheed said the country was undergoing major changes and said strengthening the role of civil society in Maldives is a priority for the government.


President meets Vice President of Swiss Confederation

President Mohamed Nasheed met with Vice President of the Swiss Confederation, Mortiz Leunberger, yesterday afternoon at the Federal House in Bern.

The meeting focused on establishing stronger bilateral relations between the two countries and possible areas of further cooperation.

President Nasheed noted that there is already a well established relationship in the tourism sector.

The president also expressed his interest in working with Switzerland to secure a legally binding agreement at COP16 climate change summit in Mexico later this year.

President Nasheed thanked Vice President Leunberger for Switzerland’s support in a Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) waste management project in the Maldives, and hoped this would be the first of many Swiss-Maldives development initiatives.


President gives lecture on climate change at University of Iceland

President Mohamed Nasheed delivered a public lecture at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik on the effects and ways to combat climate change.

He said climate change was a very real threat, and “climate deniers” were trying to continue with “business as usual.”

“A handful of e-mails don’t disprove overwhelming body of science,” President Nasheed said.

The president added that cutting down carbon emissions would not compromise the development of a nation, stating that “we need development but we do not need carbon.”

He used Iceland as an example of a country developing without large amounts of carbon emissions. He said Iceland could be seen as a great example by other developing countries.

The president also spoke of the urgent need for a legally binding climate change treaty.

President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson was present at the lecture. In his introduction he said President Nasheed is “a champion of democracy” and congratulated him on his efforts to highlight the issues of climate change.

The president also visited the University’s Natural Science Building and sought information on geological and climactic change.

President Nasheed concluded his visit in Iceland and left for Switzerland yesterday.


President meets with Icelandic ministers

On his last day in Iceland, President Mohamed Nasheed met with both the Minister for Fisheries and Agriculture, Jón Bjarnsason, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphéðinsson.

President Nasheed met with Minister Bjarnsason at Iceland’s Marine Research Institute, where they discussed the development of a mutually beneficial cooperative framework between the Maldives and Iceland in the area of fisheries and fishing technologies.

They agreed that both countries could benefit from sharing their experiences in the fishing industry.

President Nasheed said Maldivian fisheries industry could benefit from Iceland’s experience in practices and fishing technologies and Minister Bjarnsason said Iceland wanted to work with small fishing island nation such as the Maldives.

President Nasheed and Icelandic President Ólafur Grímsson visited Iceland’s Marine Research Institute, where President Nasheed was briefed on marine research and mechanisms to monitor and control fishing activities.

President Nasheed then met with Minister Skarphéðinsson at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where they discussed ways of further strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries.

They mainly focused on the areas of fishing, renewable energy and climate change adaptation.


President Nasheed meets with President and PM of Iceland

President Mohamed Nasheed arrived in Iceland on Friday morning as part of his European tour, meeting the country’s President Ólafur Grímsson.

The presidents discussed issues of mutual concern like climate change, which President Nasheed said was a very real threat to the world and was an issue to be tackled urgently.

President Nasheed commended Iceland’s policy to make renewable energy their main source of energy. He said both developed and developing countries could learn from Iceland in this respect.

President Nasheed said cooperation between both countries could be strengthened in both the fisheries industry and in renewable energy. He sought Iceland’s assistance in these areas.

President Ólafur Grímsson expressed his wish to strengthen relations with the Maldives, and assured President Nasheed of his country’s support and assistance.

President Nasheed later met with Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir and discussed ways of strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries.


President attends ‘Maldivian Night’ tourism event in Berlin

As part of his on-going European tour, President Mohamed Nasheed participated in Maldivian Night, a tourism event organised by the Maldives Tourism Promotion Board (MTPB) on Wednesday in Berlin.

The function was attended by major tour operators and the media. President Nasheed discussed the Maldivian tourism industry, saying that after a downturn in previous months, tourist arrivals were now picking up.

He said the private sector had done a lot of hard work to make the industry strong and resilient. He added that government wants to stay out of the tourism business and act as a regulator to facilitate its growth.

The president also launched a new tourism advertisement, made in association with the National Geographic Channel, which focuses on environmental preservation.


President Nasheed attends opening ceremony of ITB

President Mohamed Nasheed attended the official opening ceremony for the International Tourism Bourse (ITB) 2010 travel fair in Berlin on Tuesday night.

The ITB is the world’s leading travel trade show, with as many as 11,127 exhibitors gathering for this year’s show. Travel destinations, tour operators, booking systems, carriers, hotels and other service providers and suppliers were represented at the fair.

The Maldives Tourism Promotion Board (MTPB) and other tourism operators from the Maldives participated at the ITB.