One of the key successes during President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s historic term as the seventh and third democratically elected President of the Maldives could be his highly successful foreign policy.
President Solih assumed office on 17th November 2018, at a time when Maldives was isolated from international affairs during former President Yameen Abdulgayyoom’s controversial term as the President of the Maldives. Moreover, Maldives had withdrawn its membership in the Commonwealth during former President Yameen’s presidency.
President Solih’s continuous effort to restore Maldives’ presence on the international stage has paid its rewards. Maldives has established bilateral and diplomatic relations with 8 countries including Qatar since 2018. Moreover, Maldives has now established bilateral and diplomatic relations with 180 members of the United Nations (UN) and rejoined the Commonwealth.
As such, a British High Commission has now been established in the Maldives for the first time and an Australian and American commission is set to be established in the near future. Furthermore, the President has appointed non-resident ambassadors to 37 countries and is now preparing to open Maldivian embassies in major capital cities such as Washington, D.C, USA, and Moscow, Russia.
Maldives has received US$ 3.21 billion during the 8 official state visits made by the President, which includes US$ 2.65 billion granted by neighboring India, US$ 88.7 million granted by China, US$ 82.7 million granted by the European Union (EU), US$ 70.6 million granted by Japan, US$ 59 million granted by Saudi Arabia, US$ 55 million granted by United Arab Emirates (UAE), and US$ 28.4 granted by United States of America (USA). In addition to this, Maldives was granted 12 million Euros (€) by the EU’s Multi-Annual Indicative Program (2021-2027) for the first time.
Lastly, the most notable achievement to this date in the entire history of the Maldives is the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdulla Shahid’s appointment as the President of the 76th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Minister Shahid is the first Maldivian politician to become the President of the General Assembly of the United Nations.
The importance of foreign policy is accepted worldwide because it helps countries such as the Maldives to maintain diplomatic relations with more developed countries. Maldives foreign policy under President Solih will arguably be remembered as the most successful so far and deserves the highest praise.