K. Male' | Aishath Shaany | 13-March-2019 | Wednesday 14:29 | Shaaknee | Local | 1,234
The United States is to provide USD 20 million to Maldives, under the newly signed Development Objective Assistance Grant (DOAG).
US Ambassador Alaina Teplitz revealed this during a meeting with journalists, on Wednesday morning.
The agreement was signed on Tuesday, and the funds are to be issued "over five years."
Ambassador Teplitz described it as a "very significant commitment to assisting public financial management, rule of law and other areas."
The USD 20 million is in addition to the USD 9.75 million which is to be pushed by Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, through the Congress.
She also noted that the United States' goal is "to do things that are going to be productive and meaningful to both countries," and that the areas for both countries to work together can only be decided after "understanding mutual goals."
Both countries also renewed the Fulbright Academic Exchange Program agreement for an additional five years on Tuesday, while Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid in a recent visit to Washington signed an aviation security deal.
"I am assuming that there will be more [such agreements] in the future, as we are able to get into the details of issues of interest," said Teplitz on the matter.
Teplitz also reiterated that the US government does not have any direct involvement with the commissions- on “murders and enforced disappearances” and “corruption and asset recovery”- established by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, adding that it supports the government's efforts "to engage."
She added that viable and credible public inquiries on issues of importance is "key" to a healthy democracy.
During a visit to Maldives in December, United States Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, David J. Ranz stated that US will not get “directly” involved in any investigations by the Maldivian government, but that it will help in providing “capacity building and technical assistance.”
Ambassador Teplitz is also meeting with the opposition during this visit, so as to "maintain an open dialogue and understanding."
"We are always interested in the view point of the people," she added.
While this the ambassador's third trip to the Maldives, who was sworn-in in October 2018, her first visit was to attend President Solih's inauguration ceremony in November.
During the current trip, she traveled to three islands in Lhaviyani atoll where she met with council members and discussed on the key challenges faced by the people.
Ambassador Teplitz is accompanied by spokesperson at the US embassy, Nancy VanHorn, and Travis Hall, political officer at the embassy.
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