Maldives opposition seeks UN mediation in all-party talks

The Maldives opposition has requested the United Nations to initiate and act as mediator for all-party talks in the Maldives.

The ‘Joint Opposition’ says the request follows a statement by the UN Secretary General António Guterres on 2 February, reiterating the United Nations’ offer to facilitate all-party dialogue.

In a letter sent to the Secretary-General this week, the Joint Opposition, while welcoming dialogue in principle, expressed concern that the Maldives Government’s call for talks is an attempt to ease international condemnation over its recent actions.

The Joint Opposition is also concerned that the appeal for dialogue is a cynical attempt by the President to buy time in order to consolidate his illegal grip on the State, a tactic the opposition claims the President has employed before.

The Joint Opposition believes that only internationally mediated and guaranteed talks are acceptable. The Joint Opposition believes that for meaningful talks to take place, the administration must halt its full-scale assault on democracy, the rule of law, and the Constitution.

In its letter, the Joint Opposition urged the UN Secretary General to urge the Government of Maldives to create an acceptable environment for dialogue.

The opposition says in order to create a conducive environment, the Government of Maldives must immediately and fully implement the Supreme Court ruling of 1 February, and release the political prisoners, release the Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed, release President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, MP Faris Maumoon, MP Abdulla Sinan, MP Ilham Ahmed, and their families, including Mohamed Nadheem and Siyad Qasim, and all others detained following the purge on the opposition and withdraw the military from Parliament, and allow the opening and full functioning of the Parliament.

The opposition accused Maldives President Abdulla Yameen of ordering an assault on the democratic institutions of the Maldives, by ordering the military to seal off the parliament to prevent MPs from entering.

Five opposition MPs were physically removed from the parliament compound by the armed forces, who were acting on President Yameen’s orders.

The Joint Opposition appealed to the international community to use all means available to peacefully resolve the crisis and hold President Yameen accountable to Maldives commitments under international law. (Colombo Gazette)