Foreign Minster Honourable Abdulla Shahid, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen;
And very good afternoon.
Thank you for joining us as we celebrate our Independence Day.
This year our Independence Day falls during extraordinary times. Like the rest of the world we have had to endure many hardships due to the unprecedented challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. These challenges threaten to undermine much of the socio -economic progress we have achieved in recent decades. To safeguard our residents from the virus we were forced to close our borders for months, despite our heavy economic reliance on tourism. The social, economic and psychological toll of the virus has been immense.
Early government interventions guided by the expertise of our health authorities, combined with the dedication of our front-line workers has allowed us to weather the worst of the pandemic. We are now on the path to recovery under a new normal. We have lifted the lockdown and begun gradually easing other temporary restrictive measures. We have re-opened our borders for tourism with strong guidelines to reinvigorate the economy, while remaining vigilant of the evolving situation.
I take great pride in our national health response. The inspiring example set by our front-line workers and support of the public in particular has given me strength during this difficult time. I am also very grateful for the generosity of the international community. Your support and good-will remains crucial to the Maldives’ national resilience efforts.
While we cherish our independence, the Maldives equally values being part of the wider international community. There is no country that is completely self-reliant, and the complex issues of our time can only be addressed through concerted global efforts. This has been starkly illustrated to all of us during this ongoing pandemic.
In my inaugural address, I promised that the Maldives’ foreign policy would be defined by robust international engagement and I will keep that promise. We will continue to strengthen our partnerships and widen our circle of international friends. Together, as equals, we can meet all challenges. By the Grace of God, we will recover and rebuild from the damage of Covid-19. For that we need your support. We need visitors to come to our resorts, safaris and guesthouses. We have put in place a host of stringent measures to ensure the safety of our visitors. Maldivian resorts, where each resort occupies its own island, and where outside contact is limited, are amongst the safest anywhere in the world.
Similarly, we stand prepared to work with the rest of the world community to stop other crises, including those produced by the climate emergency.
Thank you ladies and gentleman. I look forward to a brighter tomorrow and to soon welcoming you once again to our beautiful shores.
Thank you very much.