MALE, Maldives � Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, who arrived here Tuesday for a two-day official visit to the Maldives, was accorded a state welcome at the Jumhooree Square here Wednesday.

Najib, his wife Rosmah Mansor, and several Cabinet ministers arrived from Kurumba Maldives at the Male’ Izzudheen Jetty and were received upon arrival by Maldives President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom and First Lady Fathimath Ibrahim.

Najib was welcomed with a traditional cultural performance by students before he took the salute at a dais. A seven-gun salute was fired by the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF), following which the national anthems of Malaysia and the Republic of Maldives were played.

The Malaysian prime minister then inspected a guard-of-honour mounted by personnel from the MNDF. Abdulla Yameen and Najib then introduced the members of their delegations before they proceeded to the President’s Office.

At the Dharumavantha Maalam of the President’s Office, Najib signed the visitor’s book and held a one-to-one meeting with Abdullah Yameen.

The two leaders then joined the bilateral meeting with the delegations from both countries before witnessing the signing of four memorandums of understanding (MoU) between the two countries on the establishment of a Maldives Culture Centre in Malaysia and cooperation in the fields of health; firefighting and rescue; and higher education.

Najib is slated to hold a joint press conference with Abdullah Yameen and attend an official luncheon hosted by the president.

Rosmah had a separate programme at Hulhumale. She visited the Fiyavathi Orphanage which houses orphaned and neglected children.

Malaysia and the Maldives, being Islamic countries, enjoy warm and wide-ranging substantive relations in various fields, including education, tourism and technical assistance, which have brought mutual benefit to both nations. The two countries established bilateral relations 49 years ago.

The Maldives is the smallest country in Asia in terms of both population and land size. The 90,000 sq km island nation has close to 450,000 people.