Speaking to press upon conclusion of official trip to Sri Lanka, Minister Dhunya said that Lanka provided aid for the development of Maldivian education and health sectors and that establishment of a sub commission would further strengthen relations between two countries. She said that government had proposed for a sub commission to be established to hold discussions on developing heath and educations sectors.
Minister Dhunya said that discussions had been held with senior Sri Lankan government officials on a wide range of issues, including strengthening ties in tourism, health, educational and cultural areas.
“A lot of Maldivians receive health care services from Sri Lankan hospitals. It is disadvantageous for our citizens that some of the services are provided at a high rate. Therefore we asked for price rates to be reviewed and asked for concessions that could be made, during the discussions,” she said.
Minister Dhunya said that Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister had provided assurances the matter would be given high priority.
Minister said that Sri Lankan government had always requested for arrangements to be made so that Sri Lankan vessels did not have to take any prior permission to cross Maldivian territorial waters on their way to the Arabian Peninsula, and that the Maldivian government always had one answer to the request.
“Sri Lanka has always requested for it. But the Maldivian government has always maintained one position on the matter. That it was a request we had difficulty in granting, and that we were looking into it further: This has always been our reply,” she said.
Minister Dhunya said that she felt the government’s position on the matter was clear to Sri lankan government and that Fisheries Minister Dr Mohamed Shiny had also maintained that Maldivian territorial waters would not be opened, without prior permission.
Dhunya also said that she had met with Russian ambassador for South Asian region, and that all matters had been resolved between the two countries.
Tensions had risen earlier this year when alleged Russian hacker Roman Valerevich Seleznev, son of Valery Seleznev, a member of the Duma, the Russian parliament, was arrested upon arrival at Maldives by U.S Secret Service agents.
Valery Seleznev had expressed outrage over the case and called Maldivian government accessories to kidnapping.
Minister Dhunya said relations between the two countries had strengthened after discussions held with Russian ambassador and that discussions had been held to conduct joint projects.
Meetings had been held with ambassadors from other countries as well.
A high level delegation of government officials had travelled to Sri Lanka to attend the 6th Maldives-Sri Lanka Joint Commission meeting, including Foreign Minister Dhunya Maumoon, Fisheries and Agriculture Minister Dr Mohamed Shiny, Education Minister Dr Aishath Shiham, as well as senior officials from various government ministries. (Haveeru)