The Edition


Parliament decides against debate on cutting ties with Qatar

Fathmath Shaahunaz
07 June 2017, MVT 13:33
Lawmakers pictured outside the parliament. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU
Fathmath Shaahunaz
07 June 2017, MVT 13:33

Parliament on Wednesday decided against debating on the emergency motion filed by a member of Jumhoory Party regarding the Maldives’ severance of diplomatic ties with Qatar.

The emergency motion was filed by lawmaker of Mathiveri constituency Hussain Mohamed. Only 22 lawmakers out of 62 present voted in favour of accepting the motion for debate during Wednesday’s sitting, while 40 members decided against the debate.

The lawmakers who voted in favour are members of the opposition while the members that voted against the debate represent the ruling coalition of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and Maldives Development Alliance (MDA).

Following the Maldives’ decision to end 33 years of diplomatic relations with Qatar this Monday, MP Hussain Mohamed submitted the emergency motion at Parliament, pointing out that the island nation does not have any diplomatic quarrels with Qatar. The emergency motion highlighted that the Maldives’ foreign policy prioritises the archipelago’s independence and sovereignty while maintaining diplomatic relations with allies. Thus, the lawmaker warned that the abrupt severance of ties with Qatar could be detrimental to the image of the Maldives.

MP Hussain Mohamed added that the matter was filed as an emergency motion to bring the concerns to the government’s attention.

The government cut diplomatic relations with Qatar claiming that it was done under the Maldives’ policy against supporters of terrorism and extremism. The decision sparked rumours that the state was influenced by Saudi Arabia as the abrupt move came hours after Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Libya severed relations with Qatar and closed all land, sea and air links with the Gulf state. However, the Maldives’ government has denied the allegation and declared that there was no undue external influence on the decision.

Meanwhile, the public and several political leaders have censured the state over severing ties with Qatar, including former presidents Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and Mohamed Nasheed.

The Maldives first established diplomatic relations with Qatar on May 26, 1984.