May 30, 2024
Second Round of Bilateral Political Consultations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maldives, Arab Republic of Egypt
– By Godswill Odiong

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The Second Round of Maldives-Egypt Bilateral Political Consultations was held on 16 July 2023, in Male’, Maldives. The successful consultations, held in a warm and friendly atmosphere, led by His Excellency Ahmed Khaleel, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Maldives and His Excellency Ambassador Ayman Kamel, Assistant Minister for Asian Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Arab Republic of Egypt re-affirmed the strong mutual interest on strengthening the existing bilateral relations between both countries.

Recalling that the historical ties of friendship between the Maldives and Egypt are based on Islamic solidarity, shared cultural values and mutual respect, the discussions focused on deepening the scope of engagement in the fields of economic cooperation and trade, technical exchange, tourism, culture and heritage, health and education, youth and sports, climate change and environmental vulnerabilities, security and counter-terrorism, as well as international issues of mutual interest.

Underscoring the significance of the forthcoming 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Maldives and Egypt, both countries expressed enthusiasm on celebrating this special occasion throughout the commemorative year, 2024. In this context, both sides recognized that the recent exchange of high-level visits of dignitaries of both countries have strengthened bilateral relations and emphasized the importance of welcoming key high-level visits during this commemorative year, including a visit by His Excellency Professor Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif to the Maldives.

Considering the long-standing, close bilateral relations and the increasing people-to-people contacts between the two countries, the Maldives discussed the prospects for opening resident missions in the two respective Capitals to step up diplomatic ties.

Taking stock of the full gamut of the Maldives-Egypt relations, the two countries noted the importance of establishing institutional frameworks for the enactment of business councils, parliamentary friendship groups, and friendship societies between the Maldives and Egypt. Both the Maldives and Egypt acknowledged that such institutional frameworks are crucial in strengthening bilateral business ties, enhancing political collaboration, promoting cultural understanding, fostering diplomatic relations, facilitating networking and mutual recognition between the two countries.

In this regard, the Maldives noted positive developments in the establishment of the Maldives-Egypt parliamentary friendship group in the People’s Majlis. With 10 parliamentarians having joined the group, a chairperson will be appointed, and the group inaugurated in August, once the Majlis reconvenes. The Maldives and Egypt welcomed this development as a significant step towards fostering collaboration and dialogue among lawmakers of the Maldives and Egypt, and its establishment demonstrates a commitment to working together on common interests, promoting cooperation across party lines, and enhancing bilateral relationships.

On economic and technical cooperation, both sides noted the benefits of increasing trade and investment, as well as business-to-business interactions. The Maldives requested the assistance of Egypt in the area of education and training specifically tailored to the shipbuilding industry.

On tourism cooperation, the Maldives and Egypt, as two internationally acclaimed tourist destinations, agreed to exchange best practices that enrich the visitor experience and ensure the development of human resources to meet the demands of the flourishing tourism sector.

On air connectivity, the Maldives highlighted that Egypt is a gateway to Africa and both sides agreed to explore the prospects of establishing direct air connections between the Maldives and Egypt underscoring the economic benefits that would accrue from such an investment.

The Maldives and Egypt discussed enhancing cooperation in consular affairs, including the importance of promoting consular awareness among the citizens of both countries and the designation of consular-related focal points in both countries to coordinate urgent consular matters.

The Maldives thanked Egypt for including the Maldives in the category of countries eligible for visas on arrival to Egypt, increasing people-to-people contact and enhancing commercial ties.

On cooperation in the fields of health and education, the Maldives thanked Egypt for its long-standing, invaluable contribution to the human resources development of the Maldives especially noting the annual scholarships received from the prestigious Al-Azhar University. Further, the Maldives conveyed appreciation to Egypt for its contribution to the health sector, welcoming the dedicated services rendered by Egyptian doctors in the Maldives.

Reiterating the excellent cooperation between the two countries in the international arena, the Maldives and Egypt re-affirmed mutual interest to continue to work closely at the multilateral fora, especially at the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), on global issues including climate change and environmental protection, achieving Sustainable Development Goals, maritime security, counter-radicalization and counter-terrorism as well as addressing challenges affecting the Islamic Ummah.

Both sides discussed the importance of ensuring freedom of movement in the Indian Ocean to foster trade, development and connectivity through a rules-based international order, based on trust, mutual respect and inclusivity.

On cooperation in fighting against terrorism, both sides discussed the prospect of holding a conference on the topic of tolerance in Islam and undertaking joint efforts in the fight against terrorism and radicalization.

The Maldives noted with appreciation the assistance provided by Egypt in training Maldivian Imams and in sending Imams to lead the taraweeh’ prayers during the blessed month of Ramadan. Both the Maldives and Egypt emphasized the importance of working together to strengthen and promote Islamic solidarity both bilaterally and in the international arena.

The Maldives and Egypt expressed their commitment to build on the high-level bilateral meetings and to hold the third round of Bilateral Political Consultations in Cairo in 2024.

On the margins of the Second Round of Bilateral Political Consultations, a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the field of diplomatic training between the Foreign Service Institute, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Maldives and the Institute for Diplomatic Studies, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Arab Republic of Egypt, was signed.

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