The Maldives, which joined the UN on 21 September 1965, is a member of ESCAP and all the nonregional specialized agencies except IAEA, ILO, and WIPO. Special membership status in the Commonwealth of Nations was granted 9 July 1982. Maldives is member of the WTO, participates in G-77, and is a signatory to the Law of the Sea.
An active member of the nonaligned movement, Maldives has led efforts to declare an Indian Ocean Peace Zone, free of nuclear arms. In October 1977, the government rebuffed an offer from the former USSR to lease Gan as a base for its fishing fleet for $1 million annually. The Maldives participates in the Islamic Conference and has been a recipient of Arab financial and technical aid.
Sri Lanka has traditionally served as the Maldives' focus in its external affairs. However, this has been broadened in the last few decades as the Maldives entered into diplomatic relations with more countries and communication and transportation have opened up with the outside world.