Basis for recent Chinese S. Asian initiatives not valid: Maldives

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Maldives Foreign Minister and UN General Assembly President elect Abdullah Shahid has told ET that China did not invite Maldives for two recently launched “South Asian” initiatives on vaccines and on poverty alleviation Centre but strangely called it a South Asian initiative.

“China did not invite Maldives for their two recently launched initiatives on vaccines and poverty alleviation Centre and yet described these initiatives as South Asian initiatives for some strange reason,” Shahid told ET on Thursday in New Delhi. Bhutan too was not invited for these initiatives that saw participation of Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Describing India as a real friend which has backed Maldives during each and every emergency irrespective of regime in Male Shahid said that Yameen led Opposition is targeting the Solih government for its successes and in the process targeting India. “The Solih government follows India first policy and therefore India is also getting targeted by the Opposition,” Shahid said, when asked about recent threats to the Indian diplomats in Male.

When asked out that his UNGA presidency the Foreign Minister noted that his one year term will be a presidency of hope amid global pandemic. “What humanity went through since last year is unimaginable and therefore I decided to devote my Presidency to hope. We must celebrate hope showcased by humanity in this crisis.”

“I came promising the presidency of hope. I choose the theme of the presidency of hope, taking into account the loss, pain, and devastation that covid 19 has taken in all countries of the world. I felt that it is the time we look to the future. Take into heart the goodness that we have inside, every individual. during the pandemic, we have seen the kindness, the humanity of so many, the frontline workers, the healthcare workers–nurses and doctors, so selflessly giving themselves to the cause of humanity. We have seen a miraculous vaccine invented during record time, there is light at the end of the tunnel. That is why I came to promising–the presidency of hope. During the presidency of home, it is my submission to the international community that we build a presidency of hope on five rays of hope–recovering from covid 19, rebuilding sustainably, reviving the economic devastation, we have to reform the united nations, we have to address the climate issues and we have to respect human rights, the right of all,” the Minister explained.

“We support the membership of India in the Security Council as a permanent member. As President of the General Assembly, it would be my role to bring the countries together, and try to form a broad consensus on Security Council reform process,” he said, adding Maldives was among first 10 countries that demanded UNSC reforms in the 1970s.

He noted that India’s agenda for one month UNSC presidency as very impressive and has scope of partnership with Maldives in the context of maritime security.

Shahid, the President-elect of the 76th Session of the UNGA, arrived in India on Wednesday on a three-day visit. This is maiden visit abroad since the election where India played a key part.

Shahid will pay a courtesy call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and hold talks with EAM Jaishankar on key international, multilateral, regional and bilateral issues of mutual interest,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

An agreement for high-impact community development projects to be implemented with Indian assistance in the Maldives will also be signed during the visit.

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