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Maldives welcomes Qatari nationals despite cutting diplomatic ties

Fathmath Shaahunaz
07 June 2017, MVT 12:31
President Abdulla Yameen (R) meets with the Qatari Ambassador to the Maldives, Rashid Shafea Saeed Shafea Al Fahaida Al Marri. PHOTO/PRESIDENT'S OFFICE
Fathmath Shaahunaz
07 June 2017, MVT 12:31

The government declared late Tuesday that there will be no travel restrictions imposed on Qatari nationals to enter the Maldives despite the island nation’s severance of diplomatic ties with the Gulf state.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs made the confirmation in a series of tweets on Tuesday night. The ministry also assured that the state will not “impose any restrictions on People-to-People Contact with Qatar” in addition to reiterating that the archipelago will continue to maintain economic relations with Qatar.

The government announced June 5 that it is severing all diplomatic relations with Qatar under the Maldives’ policy against supporters of terrorism and extremism. The declaration came just hours after Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Libya cut ties with Qatar, accusing Qatar of backing terrorist and extremist organisations such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran-backed rebels in Middle-east countries.

With the Maldives following suit, it has given rise to rumours that the government had been influenced by Saudi Arabia. However, the state has refuted the allegation, saying that the decision was made on authority accorded to the president in the Constitution after extensive discussions with his Cabinet.

Meanwhile, the severance of diplomatic ties with Qatar, a nation which has aided the Maldives in several fields, has sparked concern among the public and political leaders.

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