US to open a resident embassy in Maldives

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) calls on Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih (R) in an official visit to Maldives on October 28, 2020. (Photo/President's Office)

The Unites States government has made the decision to open a resident embassy in Maldives.

The announcement was made by the President’s Office on Wednesday, and coincides with the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s official visit to Maldives.

The President’s Office described Pompeo’s visit - highest-level visit by a US government official since the visit of US Secretary of State James Addison Baker’s visit to Maldives in 1992 – as a well as the decision to open a residential US embassy in Maldives as a reflection of “the growing importance that the US vests on its bilateral relations with the Maldives.”

US embassy services for Maldives is currently available from the US embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The President’s Office said a resident US embassy in Maldives will facilitate opportunities for Maldivians to visit and study in the US, and will expedite and strengthen bilateral cooperation between Maldives and the US.

The President’s Office said it believes the opening of the embassy also represents the success of Maldivian government’s international outreach efforts, further evidenced by Maldives’ re-entry into the Commonwealth of Nations, and the opening of a resident British High Commission in Maldives.

Maldives currently hosts resident diplomatic missions from the UK, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Japan and China.

The President’s Office said Pompeo’s visit to Maldives presents significant opportunities in terms of raising the country’s international profile and leveraging the increased attention and resources devoted to the Indo-Pacific region to help the Maldives realize it’s domestic and foreign policy priorities.

Current US-Maldives cooperation encompasses the spheres of maritime security, economic development, disaster resilience, countering threats such as terrorism, illicit trade and Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, and recovery from COVID-19.