K. Male'
24 Apr 2023 | Mon 19:52
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Chagos Islands dispute
Chagos Islands dispute: differences of opinion among MPs
The emergency motion was proposed by the member of parliament for Maduvvari Constituency, Adam Shareef
The emergency motion was passed with the votes of 23 members
Some members are accusing the government of deliberately withholding information from the public regarding the case

An emergency motion has been moved in the People's Majlis, alleging that shallow deals have been made involving the territorial dispute between the Maldives and the Mauritius over Chagos Islands.

The emergency motion was proposed by the member of parliament for Maduvvari Constituency, Adam Shareef, to Monday's sitting.

The motion by MP Shareef read that the Maldivian administration has sent a letter to Mauritius, with a proposal that will make Maldives lose part of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and called the government to disclose the details of the letter.

Accusing the administration of making a deal to sell part of Maldives, Shareef's motion also called to open an investigation on the issue.

Moving the motion, Shareef stated that Maldivians would refuse to give even a foot of sand from the country's land or an inch from the ocean to another country. Shareef went onto say that the administration has changed the country's stand on the case filed at an international court to declare the Chagos Islands as part of Mauritius.

Shareef stated that the territorial dispute over Chagos Islands would affect both the economic and political situation of the Maldives.

Shareef also accused the Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdullah Shahid of making shallow deals regarding the case.

On Monday's sitting, the emergency motion was passed with the votes of 23 members. The sitting saw 19 members voting against the motion.

Debating on the motion, the pro-government members of the parliament defended the administration's stand on the case. As such, member of parliament for Maradhoo Constituency, Ibrahim Shareef stated that the parliament cannot speak on cases that are ongoing at International courts.

Sharif’s remarks were met with an answer from the Speaker of Parliament, Mohammed Nasheed. Nasheed stated that the border of Maldives will be decided by the Maldives. In return, Shareef responded by asking why Nasheed did not do so, during his tenure.

Shareef went onto say that the accusations against President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, that he has given up part of the Maldives' jurisdiction are baseless allegations. He went onto say that regional issues such as this cannot be decided by one country alone.

Debating on the issue, MP Abdullah Shaheem Abdul Hakeem said that Maldives has never owned Chagos and there is no truth in the claims that Maldives is losing part of its territory. He stated that debates on topics like this should be founded on reliable information and not deception.

Pro-government members who took part in the debate went onto say that there is no evidence or document that states Chagos is a part of Maldives. MPs Abdullah Saneef and Ikram Hassan argued that Chagos is not part of the Maldives.

Member of parliament for Kendhoo Constituency, Ali Hussain stated that the Chagos Islands dispute being cased at an International Court gives Maldives the opportunity to claim ownership of the area. He stated that giving up on such an opportunity is not an ideal decision.

Members of the Parliament working with Speaker Nasheed, and the members of opposition parties are accusing the government of deliberately withholding information regarding the case from the public. They are accusing President Solih of sending a secret letter to Mauritius.

The case of territorial dispute over the area between the Maldives and Chagos Archipelago, was filed by Mauritius to International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITOLS). This is different from the dispute between Mauritius and United Kingdom over the archipelago.

The administration has stated that the country will not be ceding over any of its territory.

Chagos Archipelago comprises of seven atolls with more than 60 islands. The archipelago is located about 500 kilometers south of the Maldives.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has recommended that Mauritius be the sovereign state of the Chagos Archipelago.

The Government of Maldives states that the best course of action to safeguard the country's supreme interest in this matter is to encourage and assist Mauritius to protect the marine areas, marine stocks and natural resources of the Chagos Archipelago, and notes that without mutual cooperation this cannot be achieved.

The administration has stated that the Maldives is taking a position that will be most beneficial to the country and will protect the country's best interests.

If the lawsuit is decided in favor of Mauritius , the country will receive 3,000 to 4,000 square kilometers of area from the disputed area of the sea between Maldives and Mauritius. This accounts for around 5 percent of the disputed area.

Last updated at: 7 months ago
Reviewed by: Fathimath Zuhaira