MALÉ, Maldives - President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih returned to the Maldives on May 8th, after attending King Charles's coronation ceremony in the United Kingdom. Despite spending millions of Maldivian rufiyaa on this trip, President Solih was unable to secure a meeting with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak or any other world leaders, prompting widespread criticism.
While in the UK, President Solih managed to shake hands with King Charles and the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shehbaz Sharif, but these brief encounters did not lead to any substantial diplomatic discussions or outcomes. Many Maldivians are now voicing their concerns about the value of such costly trips, questioning whether the expenses are justified given the lack of tangible benefits for the nation.
The Maldivian economy continues to struggle, with a budget deficit of over MVR 3 billion, and the government's focus on lavish international visits is attracting increasing scrutiny. Critics argue that the funds allocated for these trips could be better spent on addressing pressing domestic issues, such as economic recovery and social welfare.
This is not the first time President Solih's foreign trips have been called into question. Last year, he visited Qatar for the World Cup, claiming to have been invited by the Qatari Emir, yet returned without having met the Emir. Additionally, President Solih's previous attempts to engage with UK leaders, such as former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, were similarly unproductive.