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Relations with India a priority, says Maldives president

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Relations with India a priority, says Maldives president
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New Delhi: Newly-elected Maldives President Abdulla Yameen says his country's relations with India were a priority.

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Yameen said he looked forward to an early opportunity to discuss issues of common interest.

Yameen also invited him to visit Maldives at an early date.

"I take this opportunity to assure you that I prioritise relations with India, and am keen on finding ways to enhance the longstanding close friendly ties between our two countries," Yameen said.

The letter, written Nov 20, came in response to the prime minister's message Nov 17 in which he congratulated the Maldivian president and assured him of India's full support in his efforts to provide a peaceful and prosperous future for the people of the archipelago nation.

Yameen said that the prime minister's assurance of India's keen interest in further strengthening ties with the Maldives was both heartening and encouraging.

He said Maldives and India enjoy historic ties for close friendship and cooperation and geographic proximity was the foundation upon which successive governments of the two countries have long strived to boost mutual relations.

"Furthermore, our shared values and similar vision of enhanced regional cooperation and the diverse Indo-Maldives people-to-people contact offer additional avenues for future cooperation," he said.

Yameen noted that his first formal appointment with a foreign dignitary was with Indian High Commissioner Rajiv Sahare.

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