Opposition MP submits motion seeking Maldivian leader’s letter to Mauritius

Mahibadhoo MP Ahmed Toriq (Tom). (Photo/People's Majlis)

The opposition has submitted a motion to the Parliament seeking the letter sent by Maldivian president Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to the Mauritius prime minister, informing him Maldives had decided to vote in favor of the Chagos decolonization resolution in the UN General Assembly.

The motion was submitted by Mahibadhoo MP Ahmed Toriq.

In a letter to the speaker, former president Mohamed Nasheed on Monday, Toriq said that the shift in Maldives’ stand in the territorial dispute with Mauritius over Chagos Islands has resulted in the loss of part of Maldives’ exclusive economic zone.

Toriq said the president’s letter on August 23 poses grounds for changes to the Maldives’ exclusive economic zone declared in Article 3 of the Constitution.

He asked for the relevant parliamentary committee to obtain the letter and conduct a review.

The move comes after President’s Office spokesperson Mohamed Miuvaan said it is against government’s policy to disclose contents of letters sent by the president to foreign leaders.

The territorial dispute is over an area between the Maldives and Chagos Islands - a group of seven atolls comprising more than 60 islands in the Indian Ocean about 500 kilometers south of the Maldives archipelago.

For decades, Mauritius and the United Kingdom have been in a dispute over ownership of the Chagos, after Mauritius claimed the Chagos archipelago as Mauritian territory when Mauritius gained independence from the UK in 1968. Maldives became involved in the dispute as the country's exclusive economic zone overlaps with that of Chagos.

Mauritius lodged the case with the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea on August 23, 2019.

President Solih said last week that his administration is seeking a resolution to the dispute at the ITLOS and not with any specific country.

He also said his administration is acting in the best interests of the country.