The quality and quantity of Italian trade links with the Maldives have increased in recent years, says Maldives Minister or Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid.
FM Shahid made this remark while speaking at the commemoration of the extension of the agreement between the government of the Maldives and the University of Milano-Bicocca on the establishment of its outpost in Faafu atoll Magoodhoo, for another ten years.
The Minister expressed his gratitude to the Italian Ambassador, Rita Giuliana Mannella, Director and other officials of the Bicocca University for extending the inaugural event held at Maagiri Hotel on Monday afternoon.
Describing the event as an important celebration, FM Shahid stated that the extension of Bicocca agreement for another 10 years will “undoubtedly go a long way” in further strengthening the formal ties between Maldives and Italy, as well as the “exemplary ties” of friendship.
Emphasizing that both countries partnership has witnessed “tremendous” progress to date particularly in the socio-economic sphere, FM Shahid stated that the Maldives has been striving for major economic development and social progress since graduation from the LDC status.
Expressing the Maldives appreciation for Italy’s contributions particularly in the tourism sector, the largest economic industry in the Maldives, FM Shahid highlighted that Italy has always been a “keen” tourism market. As such, arrivals from Italy has been among the highest from Europe.
FM Shahid also stated that hundreds of Italians have been employed in the Maldives tourism sector both directly and indirectly.
“During the past 53 years of formal diplomatic relations between both countries, we have maintained strong and friendly relations. Sharing parallel wheels on a number of international issues such as climate change, sustainable development, democracy and human rights” said FM Shahid.
In regard to the University initially established in 2011 during the administration of former president Mohamed Nasheed, FM Shahid said that the Maldives stands to benefit from the scientific research and cooperation programmes conducted at the University of Bicocca.
It continues to invest in the field of marine research, capacity building, renewable energy and has granted tremendous support to boost the likelihoods of the people of Magoodhoo, said FM Shahid.
In addition, FM Shahid stated that the government recognizes the important work that the University of Bicocca carries out in exploring ways to preserve the marine life and for sustainably utilizing the valuable resources that the oceans harbour.
“Today not only marks the contributions of the Bicocca University to the Maldives but also represents the strong commitment the government of Maldives has to the deepening of our engagement with the government of Italy” said FM Shahid.
FM Shahid further thanked the government and people of Italy for the development that they have been contributing for the progress of Maldives.
“We believe that there is scope for much more. The partnership between Maldives and Italy has enormous potential. We strongly believe that our partnership could be further strengthened and expanded and consolidated” said the Foreign Minister.
Renewing the agreement was part of the first 100-day agenda of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. Former President Abdulla Yameen’s administration had allegedly refused to renew the agreement when it expired last year.
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