President Dr Mohamed Muizzu, along with First Lady Sajidha Mohamed, embarked on his first official visit abroad on Sunday. Breaking the tradition of his predecessors, whose maiden visits were to neighbouring countries, Muizzu’s first visit is to the Republic of Türkiye.

The visit comes on the heels of the postponement of his earlier announced three-day visit to Saudi Arabia, with no details disclosed about the postponement. Ibrahim Khaleel, Communications Minister of the Presidential Office, confirmed the change on Thursday evening. He said the new dates for the Saudi visit will be announced later.

President Muizzu’s visit to Türkiye, follows an invitation from the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The visit aims to discuss potential collaborative areas and strengthen diplomatic relations. A high-level delegation accompanies the President and the First Lady.

After the Türkiye visit, President Muizzu is scheduled to attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 28) in the United Arab Emirates, commencing on 30 November 2023.

Earlier, the Saudi National News Agency reported that the Saudi cabinet, chaired by King Salman bin Abdulaziz, approved initiating trade agreement talks with the Maldives. The agreement will involve the Maldives’ Ministry of Economic Affairs and Saudi Arabia’s Economic Minister and Chairman of the Foreign Investment Authority.

This development aligns with the Maldives’ strategy to seek external funding, predominantly from Middle Eastern countries, as stated by the new finance minister to Parliament’s Budget Committee.