Secretary Pompeo Travels to Maldives to Announce New U.S. Presence in Key Indo-Pacific Nation
“The United States and Maldives enjoy a strong and growing relationship. We are bound by shared democratic values and our mutual interest in a free, open, and rules-based Indo-Pacific region that ensures sovereignty and prosperity for all.”
— U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, July 24, 2020
Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo traveled to Malé, Maldives, on October 28, 2020, where he announced plans to open a U.S. Embassy in Malé and met with President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Foreign Minister Abdulla Shaheed. He also highlighted the United States’ support for Maldives’ democracy and sovereignty.
THE UNITED STATES AND MALDIVES: A RAPIDLY GROWING RELATIONSHIP
- The United States and Maldives share common goals for an independent and prosperous Maldives and a free and open Indo-Pacific.
- The United States plans to open a new American Embassy in Malé, Maldives. We welcome this new embassy as a milestone in our relationship and a symbol of our future close collaboration.
- In 2018, 90 percent of eligible Maldivian voters turned out to vote, with a strong majority electing the reform-minded President Solih. Since President Solih’s accession to office, Maldives has bolstered democratic institutions and advanced counterterrorism efforts.
- The United States supports Maldives’ ongoing democratic initiatives, economic development, and social and environmental ambitions, and welcomes further progress in protecting the fundamental rights and freedoms of the Maldivian people.
AN EMERGING PARTNERSHIP ON MARITIME SECURITY AND COUNTERTERRORISM
- In September 2020, the U.S. Department of Defense and Maldives Ministry of Defense established a framework to deepen our security relationship, setting forth both countries’ intent to increase engagement in support of peace and security in the Indian Ocean, signifying advancement in our defense partnership.
- We commend Maldives for its tremendous advances in enhancing maritime security and countering terrorism. We are proud to partner on these critical regional security issues and have conducted 40 bilateral exercises with Maldives since 2012, a number we hope to increase through our new joint security framework. We envision benefits to both our countries and increased peace and security in the Indian Ocean region resulting from our strengthened security partnership.
- Maldives has extended strong support to American efforts to combat terrorism and terrorist financing.
- In July 2019, President Solih announced plans to repatriate Maldivian foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs). In October 2019, the country strengthened existing anti-terrorism legislation with an amendment that required establishment of a rehabilitation and reintegration center for returning FTFs. The government also designated 17 terrorist organizations in September 2019.
STRONG COOPERATION ON COVID-19
- The United States has been a steadfast partner to Maldives in combatting COVID-19.
- The United States is providing nearly $3 million to Maldives in COVID-19-related support.
- The United States strongly supports the Paris Club/G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) and its recent extension, which, subject to certain conditions, would allow Maldives to defer its debt payments to the United States and other creditors through June 2021.
- In addition to funds, the United States has delivered technical expertise and training, which are key to responding to the pandemic.
- In September, the U.S. Agency for International Development donated 60 new ventilators to Maldives.
GROWING ECONOMIC TIES
- Maldives signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with the United States in October 2009 and the United States-Maldives Council on Trade and Investment held its most recent meeting in June 2019. S. and Maldivian trade representatives discussed the positive trends in our bilateral trade, noting a nearly 30 percent increase to $63 million in the 2013-2018 time period.
- Maldives has been designated as a beneficiary country under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, under which a range of products are eligible for duty-free entry to the United States. The GSP program provides an incentive for investors to produce in Maldives.