To the Editor:

Inhabitants of Maldives Atoll Fear $10 Billion Saudi Investment” (news article, March 27) casts undue suspicion on an otherwise normal investment deal. The precise details of the Faafu Atoll deal have not been kept secret. These are preliminary investment discussions.

The article diminishes the importance of development for small countries like mine. This investment will aid economic diversification away from tourism. The Maldives is not just a country of picturesque beaches but also home to 425,000 people with the same aspirations as people anywhere else. That means offering the dignity of decent housing and access to employment.

There is no history of “pushing people off the smaller islands.” Our government has been explicit: The relocation of residents is voluntary, never obligatory. Based on incentives, we pursue population concentration so we can provide better services to more citizens.

Every country deserves the opportunity to improve the lives of its people. All investments are in line with our Constitution. There is no reason this one will be any different.

AHMED SAREER, WASHINGTON

The writer is the ambassador of Maldives to the United States.

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