“No reason to hold all party talks abroad”

Government representatives for the all party talks headed by fisheries minister Dr Shainee (C) pictured during the press conference on Monday. MIHAARU PHOTO/NISHAN ALI

Government representatives for the all party talks headed by fisheries minister Dr Shainee (C) pictured during the press conference on Monday. MIHAARU PHOTO/NISHAN ALI

The Maldives government stated that there is no reason to hold political party talks abroad, and that they have not received such an offer till date.

Though the all party talks were scheduled to be held November, the talks have not seen a green light yet. The government last said that they have not cancelled the talks, but it is being delayed due to lack of cooperation from the opposition.

Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Mohamed Shainee, who will represent the government in the talks, said that opposition parties have yet to send any names of their representatives for the talks.

Mihaaru understands that some foreign countries are trying to hold the talks abroad in Sri Lanka or Malta. While Mihaaru has not been able to gather much information about the work done in Malta, sources state that a number of foreign embassies in Sri Lanka have proposed to Lankan government to host the Maldives’ talks. In addition to Tamrat Samuel,the senior adviser to the UN department of political affairs, it has been proposed to bring Sri Lanka’s Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga to the talks as a Sri Lankan representative well-versed with the Maldives’ situation.

It appears that Sri Lankan government has acquiesced to the proposals though they informed foreign missions that the Maldives’ agreement is required to finalize the talks.

Mihaaru understands that Sri Lanka has mediated the foreign entities’ proposal to the Maldives government when the Maldives’ Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohamed Asim met with Sri Lanka’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mangala Samaraweera during the former’s visit to the South Asian neighbor recently.

Declining any such requests, Shainee declared that there is no point of holding internal political discussions of the Maldives in Sri Lanka.

Over a year has passed with attempts to hold all-party talks between the government and political parties without any progress. Tamrat Samuel had previously arrived in the Maldives last July to hold “proxy” talks with political parties separately, but the endeavor did not yield much results.

The latest obstruction to proceeding with talks occurred when party councils were appealed by the President’s Office to choose representatives for the negotiations. The political dispute that cropped up between the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)’s leader, Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, and his half-brother and incumbent President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom split PPM into two factions, which had put more heat on the strained attempts at reviving party talks. With both factions of PPM creating separate party councils and choosing representatives for the talks, the government had finally decided that candidates put forward by President Yameen’s faction, parliamentary group leader Ahmed Nihan and Fonadhoo MP Abdul Raheem Abdulla, will represent PPM.

Foreign entities have previously assumed the role of mediators to calm political fires in the Maldives, most notably the government of Sri Lanka. The South Asian neighbour had mediated peace several time during the reign of Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and also during the political turmoil under the regime of Former President Mohamed Nasheed.

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