The Maldives’ embattled President Abdulla Yameen said on Tuesday that he is expecting the European Union (EU) to impose sanctions against his government later this month (July).
Speaking at a ceremony to inaugurate a new harbour and sewerage system in Meemu Atoll Dhiggaru island, Yameen remained defiant in the face of looming sanctions saying that he would not change his policies due to international pressure or the threat of sanctions.
The island nation has been embroiled in political turmoil after the Supreme Court on February 1 ordered the immediate release of jailed political leaders including self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed.
Yameen imposed a State of Emergency on February 5.
Following that, in February the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council adopted a series of conclusions on the Maldives which also referred to possible ‘targeted measures’ if the situation did not improve.
Yameen however, insisted that he would not free “criminals” or reinstate a dozen opposition lawmakers which have crippled the parliament. “The justice system will decide on the seats of the “disqualified” lawmakers,” he stressed.
Recently, he had dispatched a high-level delegation to meet top EU officials to counter opposition efforts to convince the EU to impose sanctions against his government.
Yameen said his government had tried to talk to the EU over the looming sanctions but to no avail.
“You can’t hope to achieve anything by talking to someone whose mind is already made up,” he said.
Yameen further alleged that the EU had completely ignored the arguments made by his government to side and “believed” the opposition’s version of events reiterating that the international community’s narrative on the Maldives is being dictated by the country’s globally well-connected opposition.
The Maldives government has been facing mounting international pressure especially from the US and the West over the contentious jailing of opposition leaders and the restrictions on fundamental rights and liberties.
EU had recently cast doubts over the possibility of holding free and fair presidential elections in the Maldives which has been slated for September 23.
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