Sri Lanka to give national honour to Maldives President

Feb 12, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka will confer a national honor on visiting Maldivian President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom for fostering close relations with the island, the foreign ministry said. Gayoom is scheduled to arrive in the island today with a delegation of senior ministers and officials.

“The Lanka Mithra Vibushana” will be conferred on Gayoom for enhancing relations between the two countries, for his role in strengthening regional co-operation among South Asian nations and contributing to a global campaign on climate change.

Maldives is a low lying archipelago that is under threat from inundation if global warming causes sea levels to rise.

The two countries will also conclude two bilateral agreements on transfer of prisoners and visa facilitation, the foreign ministry said.

Though under pressure to reform the constitution and bring in more democracy after being Asia’s longest ruling leader of 30 years, Gayyoom has made the island nation the richest in South Asia.

Most South Asian countries are poor due to chronic economic mis-management and high inflation brought by populist policies.