Diplomacy Politics

Maldives asks India to back off and says its utterances are not based on facts

Yameen Modi

(The featured image at the top is that of the Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a visit to New Delhi)

Colombo, March 23 (newsin.asia): The Maldivian government headed by President Abdulla Yameen has virtually asked India to back off from interfering in the country’s internal affairs, saying that its statement on the lifting of the State of Emergency was not based on facts on the ground.

‘The Government of Maldives firmly believes that the recent political developments are an internal political matter and therefore should remain as a matter to be resolved internally,’ a Maldivian Foreign Ministry statement said on Friday.

It went on to say: ‘Furthermore, the Government of Maldives wishes to reiterate that public statements made without genuine regard to facts and ground realities of the situation in the Maldives are not helpful at all to ensure a stable, peaceful and prosperous Maldives that meets the aspirations of its citizens.’

New Delhi’s Demands

In its statement on Thursday, the Indian government welcomed the lifting of the 45-day State of Emergency but cautioned that several issues raised by the international community were yet to be addressed by the Yameen regime.

It asked the Maldivian government to fully implement the February 1 order of the Supreme Court releasing nine top opposition leaders; restore the Rule of Law; ensure the independence of the judiciary from the top to the bottom; and start talking to opposition leaders with a genuine intention to restore peace and democracy in the country.

It added that all this should be implemented before the Presidential election to be held later this year.

India’s Security Concerns

New Delhi’s statement further said that it is concerned about the restoration of peace and stability in the Maldives because India’s security is tied to what happens in the Maldives.

By this, New Delhi had clearly indicated that its security is at stake vis-à-vis the development in the Maldives and that it views the developments in the Indian Ocean archipelago very seriously.

Maldives’ Riposte

Stung to the quick, theYameen regime said: ‘The Government of Maldives firmly believes that the recent political developments is an internal political matter and therefore should remain as a matter to be resolved internally.

‘Furthermore, the Government of Maldives wishes to reiterate that public statements made without genuine regard to facts and ground realities of the situation in the Maldives are not helpful at all to ensure a stable, peaceful and prosperous Maldives that meets the aspirations of its citizens.’

State of Emergency Justified

‘ The State of Emergency was declared in order to protect peace in the country and well-being of all citizens, following the events that unfolded in relation to the Supreme Court Order No. 2018/SC-SJ/01, issued on 1 February 2018; which resulted in; the disruption of the functions of the executive power and the State institutions vested with specific mandates under the Constitution, the infringement of national security and public interest, and if implemented, would have potentially lead to an undermining of the supremacy of the Constitution of the Maldives.’

Order of February 1 Can’t Be Restored

‘The Government also wishes to note that it has no legal mandate to implement the Supreme Court Order of 1 February 2018, since the Supreme Court, by its Court Order no 2018/SC-SJ/03, issued on 6 February 2018, nullified the Court Order of 1 February 2018. Other parts of it were suspended by its Court Order No 2018/SC-VA-J/01 issued on 18 February 2018.’

On the restoration of the Rule of Law, the government statement said: ‘The Government of Maldives places utmost importance to uphold the rule of law, and therefore, the Constitution is being upheld both in letter and in spirit.’

‘Following the lifting of the State of Emergency, all constitutional rights have been restored and all aspects of life have returned to normalcy. The Government of Maldives assures the Maldivian people and the international community that the Government of Maldives’ decisions are, and will continue to be made, in the best interest of the Maldivian people.’

Always Open to Dialogue

On opening talks with the opposition, the statement said: ‘The Government of Maldives has repeatedly stressed the importance of dialogue to find mutually beneficial solutions to political differences amongst the stakeholders, and to this effect, the Government has, to date issued several invitations to the political parties in the country, requesting their participation in All-Party-Talks.’

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