K. Male' | Aishath Shaany | 14-June-2017 | Wednesday 18:42 | Shaaknee | Report | 1,199
Ambassador of the United States of America to the Maldives, Atul Keshap opened up a new American Centre in the capital Malé City on Tuesday.
However, his first job after returning to Maldives was to visit the southernmost atoll, Addu City, where he met with the reelected mayor, Abdulla 'Sobe' Sodiq and other members of the newly elected council.
Noting that it was a 'delight' to visit the south of the equator, via twitter on Monday, the Ambassador said that he had heard the hopes and views of the council members.
While in Addu, he also met with the city's Women's Development Committee.
Keshap said that he was inspired by 'their ambitious plans' adding that 'when women succeed, society succeeds'.
The Ambassador returned to the capital city on Tuesday, and called on President Abdulla Yameen that morning.
Following the meeting, he said via twitter, that he reaffirmed U.S. 'support for a peaceful, stable, democratic, moderate, prosperous Maldives with freedom and human rights for all' to President Yameen.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the President's Office said that the discussions during the call 'revolved on the issues of mutual interest and on exploring different avenues of cooperation and partnership' between Maldives and USA, and that the call concluded 'with assurances for greater cooperation and appreciation' for the long history between the countries.
Keshap also met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Mohamed Asim, Minister of Defence and National Security Adam Shareef, Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Dr. Mohamed Shainee, as well as other government officials, including members of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)'s parliamentary group.
The American Centre was inaugurated at a ceremony on Tuesday afternoon, and Minister of Youth and Sports Iruthisham Adam attended it.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Ambassador said that the reason America was part of the 30 countries that issued a joint statement expressing concern about events in Maldives was because America remains "engaged in the Maldives" and that the American people and government believe "in a vision of a Maldives that is peaceful, prosperous, moderate, democratic and stable".
Later on Tuesday, Keshap hosted an ifthar at Hotel Jen in the capital city. The ifthar was attended by senior officials of the government and opposition, as well as members of the civil society.
On Wednesday, Ambassador Keshap met with senior officials of the opposition at Maafannu Kunooz, the headquarters of the opposition Jumhooree Party.
In a tweet sent out following the meeting, he said that he is "impressed by the courage, principle and patriotism of political parties dedicated to democracy and political freedom for all".
Keshap also met with family members of abducted journalist Ahmed Rilwan and murdered writer Yameen Rasheed, saying that his heart goes out to them.
Ambassador Keshap has remained as a friend of Maldives and democracy and freedom, and continues to raise his voice against any wrongdoings in the country.
Appointed as the U.S. Ambassador to the Maldives and Sri Lanka by former President Barack Obama, this is Keshap's first ambassadorial post. He held the post of deputy assistant secretary of state for South Asia until he was made ambassador, and was the director of the Office of India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladeshm Maldives and Bhutan Affairs in the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs in 2010.
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