At a time Sri Lanka-Maldives bilateral relationships and developmental cooperation are on a very strong sound footing, His Excellency, the President Mohamed Nasheed of the Republic of Maldives arrived at the Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport this morning (26) to a warm welcome, following a cordial invitation extended to him by the Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya to be the Chief Guest (Reviewing Officer) in Tuesday's Officer Cadet Passing Out Parade (PoP) at the Diyatalawa Sri Lanka Military Academy (SLMA).
President Mohamed Nasheed of the Republic of Maldives joins the SLMA's reputed history, by being the first overseas President to have visited it as the Chief Guest and reviewed a Passing Out Parade of Cadet Officers.
President Nasheed, the first-elected Maldivian President who spent years in exile in Colombo as Leader of the Maldivian Opposition before he was voted to Presidency, has been a longstanding friend of the country. His 13-member entourage is comprised of Maldivian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Interim Chairperson, Maldivian Democratic Party (MP), Parliamentary Group Leader (MP), Maldivian Democratic Party, a few Parliamentarians of the Maldivian Democratic Party, Executive Service Secretary, President's Office, Under Secretary, President's Office and a few high-ranking officials, and is expected to stay in Sri Lanka for three days, in response to the invitation of the Commander of the Army.
Minutes after his arrival at the VIP lounge at Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport to a warm welcome, he was directly flown to the Sri Lanka Military Academy at Diyatalawa where he was warmly received by the Commander of the Army Lt Gen Jagath Jayasuriya, his host and the SLMA Commandant, Brigadier Priyantha Jayasundara.
Later in the evening, the Maldivian Head of State, ahead of his Tuesday's formal itinerary and the reception, were to receive a well-researched academic presentation on the topical theme, ‘Role of Armed Forces in Post-conflict Situation in Sri Lanka’
, prepared by the Cadet Officers.
The visiting Maldivian President Nasheed's gesture of admiration and respect, shown particularly towards Sri Lanka Army by accepting the invitation to the PoP, amply reiterates the degree of importance he attaches to prevailing excellent relations between the two States and the Armed Forces. President Nasheed as a genuine friend with all his ancestral roots in Sri Lanka has visited the island several times after he was elected the people's President at the invitation of his close Sri Lankan counterpart, HE the President of Sri Lanka. Right throughout, President Nasheed, irrespective of malicious and vicious lobbying, still active overseas in some countries against Sri Lanka, has all the time stood by Sri Lanka and her interests.
A traditional reception at the Colombo Airport welcomed the visiting Maldivian President and his entourage. Mr Hussain Shihab, High Commissioner of Maldives to Sri Lanka, Major General R. M. D Rathnayake, Chief of Staff, Army Headquarters and a few other senior Army officers formally received him.