Colombo, June 6 (NIA) – The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), led by former President Mohamed Nasheed, on Tuesday strongly condemned Maldives President Abdulla Yameen’s decision to break diplomatic relations with Qatar.
The MDP in a statement said the move will damage the Maldives, and was not in its national interest.
“The Maldives Foreign Ministry announced the cessation of diplomatic relations with Qatar just hours after Saudi Arabia announced it had severed diplomatic relations with Qatar,” the MDP said.
“The break in diplomatic relations will likely hit the Maldives hard, with Maldivian businesses and businesspersons finding it difficult to trade with and visit Qatar. Any changes in air travel services between Qatar and the Maldives as a result of this move will cause huge disruption to the tourism sector,” it added.
The opposition further said the Maldives has traditionally enjoyed warm relations with Qatar, whose government and people have always been hospitable towards Maldivians. Qatar has always been a generous donor to the socio- economic development of the Maldives.
The MDP said similar to his decision to break ties with Iran and in leaving the Commonwealth in 2016, President Yameen’s decision to break 33 years’ of diplomatic ties with Qatar was taken unilaterally, without any regard for Maldivian public interest or opinion.
“The MDP is deeply concerned by President Yameen’s reckless foreign policy decisions, which appear to be increasingly dictated by Riyadh.”
“President Yameen’s short-sighted decision, will cause additional damage to the Maldives’ standing in the world, destabilise the Maldivian economy and further deter foreign investment. The MDP calls on President Yameen not to sell Maldivian foreign policy to the highest bidder just to further his personal interests,” the MDP added.
The Maldives Foreign Ministry, on Monday said it took the decision to sever ties with Qatar because of its firm opposition to activities that encourage terrorism and extremism.
The Foreign Ministry said Maldives has always pursued a policy of promoting peace and stability in the Middle East. The Maldives reiterates its commitment to work with countries that promote peace, stability, and show solidarity in the fight against terrorism, the Ministry said.