Qasim urge government to fight with utmost sincerity in dispute with Mauritius

Jumhoory Party leader, Maamigili MP Qasim Ibrahim on August 30, 2021. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Leader of Jumhooree Party and Parliamentary representative for Maamigili constituency Qasim Ibrahim on Sunday said that thinking rule of equitation is the only solution and letting go so easily is not in the best interest of Maldives.

Proceedings are ongoing at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in connection to the Mauritius-Maldives maritime boundary dispute.

Following Attorney General (AG) Ibrahim Riffath revealing that Maldives has decided to recognize Chagos as part of Mauritius, some have accused the Maldivian government has now agreed to let go of some maritime areas.

Speaking about this Qasim said that no Maldivian would wish to let go, or give away even an inch of the land, sea or air that belongs to the country.

“Even if the boundaries are set, letting go of any right given to Maldives under the international laws, or advantage without seeking consent from Maldivians is not something anyone can do.”

He went on to note the case was submitted against that Maldives whose people have been dependent on the since ancient times, by a people that have had a military base.

“Maldives has the right to claim 200 nautical miles of territory under the United Nations (UN) maritime laws.”

Furthermore, Qasim said that the people hope to see the government work on this with the utmost sincerity. He added that the people hope to see the government dive deep into this,  and ensure that any territory belonging to Maldives is not lost at the behest of a “big brother”.

Due to the allegations, Communications Director at the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) Hussain Hassan assured that Maldives’ stance did not change on the issue.

“The issue was filed on behalf of Mauritius. The stance on the issue has not changed. Maldives is not set on letting go of any territory.”

He also addressed recognizing Chagos as part of Mauritius.

“President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has sent a letter to the Prime Minister of Mauritius informing this. That is what AG Riffath spoke about during ITLOS. Maldives believe that Chagos need to be handed back to actual residents.”

Hussain further noted that this stance was changed as a mark of respect for the international community, and also because it benefitted Maldives.

“In 2019, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) released an advisory opinion on the Chagos decolonization issue. In it, Chagos was recognized as part of Mauritius, and that it needed to be handed back.”

Mauritius filed a dispute regarding the overlap of the Maldives’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) with Mauritian waters in 2019.

 The disputed territory is the waters between Addu City and the Chagos archipelago – which lies to the south, overlapping the EEZs of both countries.