NEW DELHI: Maldives today lashed out at India for its outspoken remarks condemning the decision to extend the state of emergency in the island nation by another 30 days.
“Government of Maldives takes note of public statements issued by Government of India that ignore the facts and ground realities with regard to the ongoing political developments in the Maldives,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohamed Asim in a statement.
Yesterday, India had expressed “deep dismay” at the 30-day extension to the state of emergency imposed by embattled Maldives President Abdulla Yameen earlier this month. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) issued a statement noting that the manner in which the Maldives Parliament had approved the extension was a “matter of concern” as it was in contravention of the country’s constitution.
In fact, Maldives Prosecutor General Aishath Bisham called Parliament’s approval of the extension sought by President Yameen as “unconstitutional”, as it was passed without the constitutionally required quorum of 43 lawmakers.
Going on the offensive, Asim called the MEA’s statement “a clear distortion of facts” and asserted that India’s concerns regarding the legality of the move to extend emergency were unfounded.
“The assertion by the Government of India that the extension of the State of Emergency by the People’s Majlis was unconstitutional is a clear distortion of facts, which ignore the Constitution and Laws of the Maldives,” Asim said.
The exotic tourist destination was plunged into crisis when President Yameen declared a 15-day emergency on February 5 and ordered the arrest of the Chief Justice and a former head of state after the Supreme Court termed “unconstitutional” the imprisonment of nine MPs and former President Mohammed Nasheed.
Yameen sent special envoys to China, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia even as New Delhi politely declined to host the Maldivian Foreign Minister.
India has maintained that normalcy should be restored in Maldives at the earliest and the order issued by the Supreme Court vis-a-vis political prisoners should be implemented in letter and spirit.
“India didn’t see ‘any valid reason’ for extension of emergency. We continue to watch the situation and continue to urge the government of Maldives to release political prisoners, release the Chief Justice, implement Supreme Court orders and restore normal functioning of institutions of democracy,” the MEA said today.
Earlier, Maldives President Yameen turned down UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres‘ offer to mediate between him and the opposition in the ongoing political crisis, Guterres’s deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq said.
Fisheries Minister Mohamed Shainee denied that the government was opposed to UN mediation and said they had openly invited Maldives’ international partners to send envoys to mediate in all-party talks.
In a nod to this sentiment, Foreign Affairs minister Mohamed Asim went on to say: “The Government of Maldives reiterates its firm commitment to work closely with the international community, including India, to address concerns they might have.”
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