On the auspicious occasion of our 54th anniversary of Independence, I convey warm felicitations and sincere good wishes to all Maldivians residing in Sri Lanka. As we also celebrate the 54th anniversary of the establishment of Diplomatic relations between the Maldives and Sri Lanka, I wish to take this opportunity to extend heartfelt greetings and best wishes to the Government and the friendly people of Sri Lanka with whom the Maldives and its people enjoy historic and close relations.
The Maldives has re-embarked on a journey to consolidate democracy, restore basic human rights, including the constitutional right to pursue political activity, strengthen independent institutions, establish social justice and improve the living standards and wellbeing of its citizens. The Maldives remains dedicated to working closely with our international partners on its journey, and counts especially on the unwavering support and cooperation from our loyal neighbour Sri Lanka.
On this special occasion let me also convey my sincere appreciation to the President of Sri Lanka His Excellency Maithripala Sirisena, the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Tilak Marapana for the close cooperation and support extended to the Maldives. The Maldives and Sri Lanka have exemplary long standing relations which extend far beyond any diplomatic formalities. Our relations are built on shared culture, aspirations and geographical proximity, encompassing common perspective on issues in the region and beyond.
With the State Visit of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to Sri Lanka in February this year, the new administration is set to take this age old relationship to new heights, with renewed enthusiasm and vigour.
I also wish to reiterate our commitment to working closely with Sri Lanka in areas of mutual interest to strengthen our bilateral relations, as well as to work together on regional and international issues for the mutual benefit of our two counties.
For Maldivians, Sri Lanka is and will always remain their second home. Apart from the many Maldivians residing in Sri Lanka, thousands of Maldivians travel to Sri Lanka each year for medical and tourism purposes, thus maintaining Sri Lanka’s status as a favorite travel destination among Maldivians. People to people contact between the two countries remain significant and is set to intensify in the coming years.
Let me once again reiterate Independence Day greetings to all Maldivians living in Sri Lanka and abroad.