President: Foreign soldiers will not be stationed at Hanimaadhoo airport

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih meets with residents of HDh. Hanimaadhoo to discuss the airport development project on July 18, 2021. (Photo/President's Office)

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said Sunday that the ownership and management of the airport being built in HDh. Hanimaadhoo will reside solely with the Maldivian government, and provided assurance foreign soldiers will not be allowed to station at the airport.

He made the statement during a meeting with residents of Hanimaadhoo to discuss public opinion on the airport development project on Sunday afternoon.

 At the meeting, President Solih said his government will not allow any action that may hinder Maldives’ sovereignty in any way, and that he does not believe any succeeding government would allow for it either.

“The loan to build Hanimaadhoo Airport is taken by the government. The management and ownership of the airport will reside with the government. Soldiers from a foreign nation will not be stationed there. And my government will not take any action that may hinder Maldives’ sovereignty in any way,” he said.

President Solih spoke of the benefits of having an international airport on the island; not just for the local community in Hanimaadhoo, but for the entire region.

Some of the Hanimaadhoo residents who took part in the meeting said they welcomed the airport development project, and thanked the President for discussing the project with them.

They said their main concern was regarding land allotted for the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF), and the expansion of the runway. They shared the alterations they wanted to see in the project with the President.

In response to the concern from the residents, President Solih said that the land had been allotted for MNDF to move its entire Northern Command to Hanimaadhoo, as it would be more convenient to guard the northern territories and the seas of Maldives from there.

Other projects planned for the region were also discussed during this meeting.

President Solih, during his visit to Hanimaadhoo, also inaugurated the construction phase of the road development project at the island.

The President and the First Lady’s visit to Hanimaadhoo was the final leg of a three-island tour of northern Maldives. They previously visited Kulhudhuffushi City and HDh. Kumundhoo.

They are accompanied on the tour by Cabinet ministers and other senior government officials.