Remarks With Maldivian Foreign Minister Ahmed Naseem Before Their Meeting

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
July 13, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am so delighted to welcome Minister Naseem to Washington, to the State Department, to this opportunity to meet with him. The United States is very impressed with the many strides that the Maldives is making, and also the role that you are playing regionally and even globally on important issues like climate change and so much else.

So it’s a particular pleasure, and I just learned before I walked out, that it is the minister’s birthday. (Laughter.) So I must say that it’s a special treat to welcome you here on your birthday, Minister Naseem, and to wish you the very best, both for yourself and for your country.

FOREIGN MINISTER NASEEM: Thank you very much. Both the United States and Maldives have the same ideals, and we strive to create democracy in Maldives. After 30 years of dictatorship in the country, we managed to do that with the help and assistance and the guidance of the United States diplomats based in Colombo and in Washington. And we have been successfully broaching the democratic transition. I think that was the pivoting of the Islamic awakening. And thank you very much for all that.

And we are working very closely on the – in the areas of human rights in Geneva, also on the perils and the difficulties that the small island states are facing due to climate change and the climate extreme weather conditions that we are having at the moment. And I wish to thank the United States very much. And we have also cooperation in the areas of coast guard training and military training, and many of our social, health, and other areas.

And I wish to thank Secretary Clinton for this very kind gesture of receiving me in this State Department. I think it’s the first time that this kind of a program has occurred for a Maldivian diplomat. Thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: It is our honor, sir. Thank you.


SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all very much.

PRN: 2011/1181