Shahid: No chance of establishing relations with Israel

Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid has stated there is no chance of Maldives establishing relations with Israel, given its blatant disregard for international laws and continued occupation of Palestinian land.

Maldives established political relations with Israel in 1965, but cut the ties later in 1974. There were rumors of efforts to re-establish relations with Israel during the first administration of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP). Similar rumors have resurfaced periodically during the current second MDP administration, have recently gathered strength in face of the upcoming official visit by the United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

In an exclusive interview to Sun last week, Foreign Minister Shahid denied the rumors, stating that there is no way Maldives will establish relations with Israel given its blatant disregard for international laws.

“We cannot engage in friendly relations with a country that does not follow international laws. We don’t believe Israel follows international laws. Therefore we cannot establish relations with Israel. We cannot establish any form of relations,” he said.

Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid in an exclusive interview to Sun on October 21, 2020. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Shahid said that Maldives is ready to cooperate with any foreign country to pursue development, but that Maldives will not establish relations with any country that defies international laws.

“We don’t have any dispute with any country. We advocate for peace in the international arena. The only thing we ask is to pursue the road to development through peace,” he said.

Israel has recently begun pursuing stronger relations and trade agreements with Arab countries. The country recently signed agreements to normalize relations with United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

Shahid has been accused of discussing the establishment of relations with Israel during a recent visit to UAE. However, the allegations have been denied by the Foreign Ministry.