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Maldives attempting to re-establish ties with Qatar: Shahid

Shahudha Mohamed
31 July 2019, MVT 20:02
Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid. PHOTO: PARLIAMENT
Shahudha Mohamed
31 July 2019, MVT 20:02

Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid stated on Wednesday that attempts were underway to re-establish diplomatic relations with Qatar.

Minister Shahid made this statement in parliament while answering Kaashidhoo MP Abdulla Jabir's question whether it was part of our foreign policy to friend Qatar again.

Reforming bilateral ties with Qatar was one of President Ibrahim Mohmed Solih's presidential pledges. However, no progress has been observed withing the eight months after the administration change.

Criticising the former government's foreign policy, Shahid claimed that Maldives was isolated from the rest of the countries when President Solih took office in late 2018.

At a time when Maldives had lost respect and dignity in the eyes of the rest of the world, the current government prioritised restoring Maldives' place within the international community acquired through our foreign policy, Shahid said.

Referring to former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom severing the bilateral ties with Qatar, Shahid iterated that "cutting off diplomatic ties with a country is the last resort in foreign policy - even when two countries are at war, they still maintain their political relations for various reasons."

Assuring that measures were being taken to mend the bond between Maldives and Qatar Shahid emphasised that building a diplomatic relationship after severing ties with a country takes time.

Additionally, Shahid guaranteed that measures were being taken to strengthen all the bilateral relations that deteriorated during Yameen's tenure, adding that all foreign relationships will be reinforced in the best interests of the Maldivian people.

Diplomatic ties with Qatar were severed in Yameen's government following allegations by Saudi Arabia and various gulf countries that Qatar enabled terrorism.

The decision was heavily criticised by the public, accusing the government of caving into Saudi influence. However, the then-government insisted that there was no coercion behind the decision, assuring that the Maldivian people will not face any repercussions due to it.

The now severed diplomatic ties between Maldives and Qatar were established on May 26, 1984.

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