Govt. denies reports Maldives in talks to establish diplomatic ties with Israel

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih (C) with Foreign Minster Abdulla Shahid (R). (Photo/President's Office)

Maldivian government has denied media reports Maldives is in talks to establish diplomatic relations with Israel. 

Foreign Ministry’s Communications Director Miuvan Mohamed said on Wednesday that the Maldivian government is neither in talks with Israel nor making any attempt to establish diplomatic relations with the country. 

Foreign Ministry’s statement comes after an Israeli newspaper reported that Israel was in talks to establish formal diplomatic relations with both Maldives and Comoros – a Muslim-majority country in Africa. 

Maldives established diplomatic relations with Israel in 1965 – during former President Ibrahim Nasir’s administration, but cut the ties in 1974 – during former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s administration. 

There were rumors of efforts to re-establish relations with Israel during former President Mohamed Nasheed’s administration – fueled by an official visit to Israel by then-Foreign Minister and Defense Minister. 

While Maldives does not have formal diplomatic relations with Israel, the country is open to Israeli tourists. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet visited Maldives on vacation with his family last December. 

In an interview to Sun in 2020, Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid said there was 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.