Challenges facing the Islamic world with special reference to a joint move to boost Saudi-Maldivian ties topped the agenda of the official talks held between Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, and Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom in the Maldivian capital Male.
Crown Prince Salman arrived in Male on Friday afternoon.
“The talks between Saudi officials led by Crown Prince Salman and Maldivian officials also touched regional issues including Middle East peace process and Syria,” said Ali Nasser, a spokesman of the Maldivian Foreign Ministry, while speaking to Arab News via phone from Male. He said trade, commerce and tourism relations topped the agenda of the official talks held at the Maldivian president’s office.
A joint statement, meanwhile, stressed the need for greater cooperation in economy and trade between the two countries.
The Kingdom and Maldives affirmed their commitment to “combat of extremism, terror in all its manifestations and cooperation to fight against piracy, money laundering and drug trafficking.”
Maldives also thanked the crown prince for the Kingdom’s support and assistance especially when it suffered major natural calamities such as tsunami in 2004.
President Abdulla Yameen hosted a lunch in honor of the crown prince.
The crown prince also met with former President Mamoun Abdul Gayoom.
Diplomatic relations between Maldives and Saudi Arabia were established during Gayoom’s regime, said an SPA report.
A special ceremony with a gun salute was organized at the Republic Square in Male to welcome Crown Prince Salman, who was received by President Abdulla Yameen and several other Maldivian ministers at the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport in Male Friday afternoon, said Nasser.
The spokesman said the two leaders discussed all issues of mutual concern.
According to reports, Crown Prince Salman is also expected to meet other former and current top Maldivian officials during his visit.
“The visit of Crown Prince Salman to Maldives is important keeping in view the ailing economy of that nation, which is mainly based on tourism and fishing,” said a political analyst.
He said economic growth has been powered mainly by tourism and its spinoffs in the transportation, communication, and construction sector.
More than 900,000 tourists including a large number of Gulf tourists visit the country annually, he added.
The Kingdom has been on the forefront in supporting that tiny nation especially after the Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004 devastated many islands. But the Maldivian economy has now made a recovery, with a rebound in tourism and post-tsunami reconstruction.

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