On the invitation of His Excellency Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, President of the Republic of Maldives, His Excellency Wavel Ramkalawan, President of the Republic of Seychelles, undertook a State Visit to the Maldives from 11-14 June 2023. President Ramkalawan was accompanied by Her Excellency Linda Ramkalawan, First Lady of the Republic of Seychelles and a high-level delegation, including His Excellency Sylvestre Radegonde, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism.
President Ramkalawan was accorded a ceremonial welcome in Malé, on 12 June 2023.
This is the first State Visit of a Head of State of Seychelles to the Maldives. The visit is a true reflection of the shared commitment of the two countries to take their relationship to new heights, as neighbours in the Indian Ocean, sharing similar historical, socio-economic, and cultural values and bonds.
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and President Wavel Ramkalawan held Official Talks on 12 June 2023, in a warm, cordial, and friendly atmosphere, with both sides expressing their desire to work together towards elevating their bilateral relations to a strategic partnership.
President Solih recalled his successful State Visit to the Republic of Seychelles in August 2019 and thanked President Ramkalawan and the Government of Seychelles for the warm hospitality accorded to him, First Lady Fazna Ahmed, and the accompanying delegation.
His Excellency Faisal Naseem, Vice President of the Republic of Maldives, His Excellency Mohamed Nasheed, Speaker of the People’s Majlis and Former President and His Excellency Abdulla Shahid, Minister of Foreign Affairs, paid courtesy calls on His Excellency President Ramkalawan. His Excellency President Solih hosted a State Banquet in honour of His Excellency President Ramkalawan and his delegation.
During the official talks, the two leaders highlighted the importance of people-to-people contacts, and the need to promote cultural exchanges and economic linkages between the two countries.
In recognizing the essential role of youth in enhancing bilateral cooperation, both leaders acknowledged the need for increasing exchange of training opportunities and the fostering of camaraderie among the two peoples.
As internationally acclaimed tourist destinations, both leaders agreed to broaden collaborative efforts in the field of tourism, with a view to exchanging experiences, both at the working level, as well as at the expert level, and nurturing the development of human resources by encompassing vocational training and facilitating job enrichments within the tourism sectors of the two countries.
As fellow Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and active members of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), both nations reaffirmed that climate change continues to pose a significant risk to SIDS and its adverse impacts undermine the ability of all countries to achieve sustainable development. Both leaders further expressed their commitment to enhance collaboration to effectively address the detrimental effects of climate change through global mechanisms, including working together to ensure that the hard-won Loss and Damage Fund is operationalized at COP28.
Recognizing the important role of the Indian Ocean for their sustainable development, both leaders agreed to collaborate closely in the areas of blue economy and marine conservation and to jointly promote blue economy initiatives at the international fora.
Both leaders also reaffirmed their firm commitment to the security of the Indian Ocean Region and agreed to work closely together to enhance cooperation in the field of maritime security, counterterrorism, Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, counter-piracy, and combatting drug trafficking, both bilaterally as well as multilaterally, especially within the context of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).
Both leaders have reiterated the importance for the two countries and other Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to continue to advocate for the creation of a Multidimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI). This will underscore the need for SIDS to be assessed on the basis of their vulnerabilities instead of solely their GDP per capita.
The two leaders agreed to enhance multilateral cooperation, including collaborating closely at the United Nations on issues of mutual interest such as addressing climate change, protection and promotion of human rights, the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The two leaders also agreed to collaborate closely through other multilateral avenues such as IORA and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS). President Ramkalawan congratulated the Maldives on its membership to the OACPS as well as its Presidency of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly for the period September 2021 to September 2022.
Both leaders also expressed appreciation for the excellent cooperation between the two countries in various multilateral forums, including support for international initiatives and candidatures. President Solih thanked President Ramkalawan for the Government of Seychelles’ support for Maldives’ candidatures to the United Nations Security Council, for the term 2033-2034 and to the Economic and Social Council, for the term 2027-2029.
Following the Official Talks, building on the several agreements that were concluded between the Maldives and Seychelles in 2019, during President Solih’s State Visit to Seychelles, the two leaders witnessed the exchange of the following bilateral instruments between the two countries:
a. Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Maldives and the Government of the Republic of Seychelles on Short Stay Visa Waiver.
b. Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Maldives and the Government of the Republic of Seychelles Concerning Air Services.
c. Memorandum of Understanding for Youth Development Cooperation between the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment of the Government of the Republic of Maldives and the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Family of the Government of the Republic of Seychelles.
d. Protocol between the Government of the Republic of Maldives and the Government of the Republic of Seychelles on the Cooperation to Combat Transnational Organised Crime and other Maritime Security and Safety Threats.
His Excellency President Ramkalawan conveyed his gratitude to His Excellency President Solih and the people of Maldives for the warm welcome and gracious hospitality extended to him and the members of his delegation during their stay in the Maldives.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of State House – Office of the President of the Republic of Seychelles.