The United States Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Donald Lu, engaged in diplomatic dialogue with President Mohamed Muizzu on Tuesday, with the discussions centered around the fortification of bilateral ties between the two nations. The discussions took place during a courtesy call by Assistant Secretary Lu on President Muizzu.

Assistant Secretary Lu expressed the U.S.’s interest in expanding cooperation in various sectors, including trade, economic development, tourism, and Indian Ocean security, the President’s Office said. President Muizzu welcomed these developmental initiatives, emphasising that they align with his foreign policy objectives of benefiting the Maldives and diversifying its economy.

At the meeting, President Muizzu and Assistant Secretary Lu also discussed global issues of mutual concern. The President expressed hope for a permanent cessation of the ongoing Israeli aggression in Gaza, especially with the holy month of Ramadan imminent, according to the President’s Office. He further underscored the need for a two-state solution for lasting peace in the region, and establishment an independent Palestinian on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Assistant Secretary State Lu’s visit is set against the backdrop of recent bilateral developments. The U.S. has recently reaffirmed its commitment to supporting the Maldives in maintaining peace, security, and sovereignty during a recent visit by Admiral John Aquilino, the Commander of the United States Indo-Pacific Command.

Discussions between President Muizzu and Admiral Aquilino centred around enhancing the capabilities of the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) through training programmes. Admiral Aquilino emphasised the enduring relationship between the Maldives and the United States and expressed eagerness to explore additional avenues for cooperation.