Four bilateral agreements signed with Pakistan

The Maldives has signed four Memorandums of Understanding with Pakistan today during president Abdulla Yameen’s ongoing two-day state visit.

The MoUs were for mutual cooperation in healthcare, education, sports, and combating drug abuse.

President Yameen was accompanied by first lady Fathmath Ibrahim, speaker of parliament Abdulla Maseeh Mohamed, and cabinet ministers. The delegation is due to return tonight.

President Mamnoon Hussain hosted a banquet in honour of president Yameen last night. The pair held talks on strengthening bilateral ties earlier in the day.

“President Yameen thanked his Pakistani counterpart for the excellent hospitality extended to himself and his delegation,” said the president’s office.

“President Yameen also extended an invitation to President Mamnoon Hussain to visit the Maldives at his earliest convenience. At the meeting, both the leaders deliberated on enhancing trade and cultural exchanges, as well as expanding the scope of investment opportunities. Discussions were also held on supporting each other in the global arena.”

Yameen has also reportedly invited prime minister Mohamed Nawaz Shareef to attend an official function due to be held on July 26 to mark the golden jubilee of the Maldives’ independence.


Pre-feasibility study MoU signed with Chinese government

The Maldives has signed an MoU with the Chinese government regarding a pre-feasibility study of the proposed Malé-Hulhulé bridge.

The agreement was signed by Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Dr Mohamed Muizz and Yung Wan Xion, principal of the Chinese Office of Economic and Commercial Affairs.  ­

Dr Muizz thanked the Chinese government for the generous support and said that the Maldives was giving utmost priority to the project in order to complete it.

In October, a Chinese team of engineers reportedly conducted a survey on the feasibility of the bridge while also researching the best pier points for the bridge, while Chinese government officials announced they would “favorably consider” financing the project.

Speaking to Haveeru at the time, tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb said the survey was to be finished in a period of four months, with costs being covered by  US$4 million in aid from the Chinese government.

Opposition Maldives Democratic Party of Maldives (MDP) has, however, criticised the government’s inclusion of high amounts of funds allotted for the bridge feasibility study in the upcoming three years.


Bridge survey to start on Friday, says Adeeb

A surveys for the Malé-Hulhulé bridge project will begin on Friday, Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb has revealed.

After signing an MoU regarding promotion of the ‘mega project’ during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinpeng last month, a team from China will arrive on Thursday to carry out the survey.

“After that, we will obtain the required finance for project and start practical work on the bridge,” said Adeeb, also Chair of the cabinet’s Economic Council.

“I see the survey starting within one month from signing of Memorandum of Understanding with Chinese government as a huge victory,”  he told Haveeru.

The survey will determine the pier points for the proposed bridge which will link the capital island Malé with the airport island of Hulhulé.

The project has been mooted by successive governments, with previous plans considering a bridge connecting the airport island with the Rahlugandhu area on the south-eastern corner of Malé, the artificial beach area, or the northen harbour via Funadhoo island.

Local media have confirmed that Chinese aid will cover the expense of the survey – reported to cost $3-4 million.

The government has insisted that the project can be completed within two years, with the Ministry of Economic Development suggesting it will help to ease urban congestion in the capital island – one of the most densely populated in the world.

President Abdulla Yameen confirmed that China had pledged to support the bridge project during his official state visit in August, promising a feasibility study before the end of the year.

During the historic visit of President Jinpeng last month – the first by a Chinese head of state to the Maldives, the leader suggested the finished project might be named the ‘China-Maldives Friendship Bridge’.

Diplomatic ties between the two nations have grown in the wake of the large numbers of Chinese tourists visiting the Maldives – now thirty percent of total arrivals.

While visiting the Maldives, President Xi reiterated his calls for the Maldives to become involved in the creation of a 21st century maritime silk road linking China to the east coast of Africa and the Mediterranean.

Chinese news agency Xinhua reported yesterday that China’s maritime ‘Silk Route’ would pass through the Ihavandhippolhu Integrated Development Project – or ‘iHavan’ – in the northernmost atoll in the Maldives.

An preliminary contract agreement on the development of Ibrahim Nasir International Airport – based on Hulhulé island – was also signed between the two nations during September’s visit.


Maldives signs UAE banking agreement

The Maldives Monetary Authority will cooperate with the Central Bank of the UAE on issues of technical assistance and battling money laundering and terrorist financing under the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed yesterday.

The UAE’s Central Bank’s governor, Sultan Bin Nasser Al Suwaidi, signed the deal along with his counterpart within the Maldives Monetary Authority in order to work together to try and ensure banking in both nations is in line with international standards on sound financial practices.

“This MOU puts a mechanism to cooperate in banking supervision [regarding] financial institutions operating in the two countries and exchange of supervisory information, in line with the international standards relating to exchange of information between banking supervisory authorities,” said the Central bank of the UAE in a statement.

The MOU agreement is also said to include assistance and training for staff at the Maldives Monetary Authority both in the UAE and the Indian Ocean at educational institutions that focus on banking supervision and examination.