President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed had talks in Male today on the political situation in the Maldives and ways to resolve the issue, the Maldivian President’s office said in a statement.
The two leaders also discussed ways to enhance the existing close friendly relations between the two countries and also explored new areas for bilateral and development cooperation.
President Nasheed thanked President Rajapaksa for accepting his invitation to visit the country, especially at a time when the country was facing political problems.
President Rajapaksa said Sri Lanka viewed, “as a friend”, and it was a “duty” to assist the Maldives in everyway possible, the Maldivian President’s office said.
President Nasheed also hosted a luncheon in honour of the visiting President of Sri Lanka. Speaking at the luncheon, Rajapaksa reaffirmed the “friendship and goodwill” of Sri Lanka people towards the people of Maldives.
He also said the relations between the two countries, in times good and bad, had strengthened and that the excellent people-to-people contact has been “a strong foundation” of close bilateral ties.
In his remarks, President Nasheed too highlighted the historical relations between the Maldives and Sri Lanka.
Speaking on the political situation in the Maldives, President said he held discussions with political parties on the issue and announced that he would appoint a cabinet later today, the Maldivian President’s office said.
President Mohamed Nasheed and the opposition-controlled parliament are at loggerheads over how to run the atoll nation of 330,000 Sunni Muslims. (Daily Mirror online)