Adhaalath Party: Border delimitation an important step towards protecting fishing waters

Adhaalath Party's leader, Home Minister Imran Abdulla. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Hayyan)

Adhaalath Party (AP), on Wednesday, has described International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea’s (ITLOS) ruling on the maritime border depute between Maldives and Mauritius in favor of Maldives, as an important step towards protecting the nation’s fishing waters.

AP, in a statement on Wednesday, congratulated the president and Maldivian citizens in light of ITLOS’ ruling. In their statement, the party also clapped back at opposition politicians’ misleading statements regarding ITLOS’ ruling, describing them as baseless.

“It is factually wrong to claim the president’s declaration of support to Mauritius should the ICJ’s advisory opinion on Mauritian sovereignty over Chagos be raised again at the UN without backing down on Maldivian’s initial claims on the maritime dispute as an agreement to give up part of Maldivian territory,” the party said.

It was also noted that ITLOS had already decided on the objection raised by Maldives on Mauritius' sovereignty over Chagos.

AP – highlighting Article 3 of the Maldivian constitution defines the territory of the Maldives as an area of 12 nautical miles from the Maldives' baseline – said Maldives’ decision to recognize Mauritius sovereignty over Chagos does not constitute letting go of Maldivian territory as defined by the constitution.

“As per normal regulations, Maldives’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) should extend 200 nautical miles starting from the baseline. However, as there are sovereign powers in both north and south of Maldives that conflict with the nation’s EEZ, the area has been further delimited,” the statement read.

On this note, AP detailed that an agreement regarding the northern EEZ had been reached between Maldives, India, and Sri Lanka in 1976. However, AP stressed that no such agreement had been reached regarding Chagos, which conflicts with Maldives’ southern EEZ, which has been under British control since 1968.

As per the party, the official delimitation of the maritime boundary further strengthens Maldives’ rights in its southern region while paving the way to protect and utilize the country’s natural resources. 

ITLOS, concluded the 58-year-long maritime border dispute between Maldives and Mauritius, deciding the conflicting EEZ between both nations will be divided between the two using the equidistance formula as argued by Maldives in the case. The bigger portion, however, is awarded to the Maldives.

Thus, Maldives gains 47,232 square kilometers from the 95,563 square kilometers of maritime territory in dispute while Mauritius gains 45,331 square kilometers.