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EU will take action against Maldives this month: President Yameen

Fathmath Shaahunaz
10 July 2018, MVT 11:43
President Abdulla Yameen is warmly received by residents of M. Dhiggaru during his official visit on July 10, 2018. PHOTO/PRESIDENT'S OFFICE
Fathmath Shaahunaz
10 July 2018, MVT 11:43

European Union has warned to implement sanctions against Maldives this month, President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom declared Tuesday.

He made the statement in Dhiggaru island, during his ongoing official visit to Meemu Atoll.

In his address, the president stated that EU had warned the Maldivian government last week of sanctions that would be enforced on the archipelago in mid-July.

The warning came over the government's refusal to comply with the resolution passed by the EU Parliament earlier. The resolution called on Maldives to restore democracy, revive and ensure all the rights accorded by the Constitution to the people, and allow the parliament and judiciary to function within the legal framework. The EU parliament also called on the government to dismiss the charges levied on "unlawfully" detained politicians of the opposition, and to reinstate 12 lawmakers that were ousted from the parliament over floor-crossing.

Yameen said that while main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) welcomed EU's threat of sanctions with joy, he viewed it as a great concern for Maldives.

"However there are certain things that my government will never compromise; policies that we will not renounce," he asserted, adding that should EU enforce sanctions against Maldives for maintaining those policies, then the nation would work to overcome them.

President Yameen also criticised EU for calling on the government to curb its blatant stance against religions other than Islam prevailing in Maldives. The president said that, if EU should enforce sanctions against Maldives due to this issue, then he should be made their only target.

The president added that any vote taken regarding EU parliament's resolution on Maldives, would not receive the public's support for EU's suggestions.

"EU calls on me to release all prisoners because of some convicted criminals. And they say they would believe the [upcoming presidential] election as free and fair only if all of them were freed and allowed to contest - no, I do not accept that."

President Yameen pointed out that the political prisoners in question were all convicted of criminal offences in court.

"Regardless of what the EU says, I cannot pretend they did not commit those crimes and free them, nor can I reinstate members [of parliament] who have lost their seats. All of these decisions can be taken only within the justice system of Maldives," he said.

The president assured that the government was in talks with EU to solve the issue of sanctions. However he remarked that it would not be easy to negotiate with people who have already made up their minds.

Yameen went onto proclaim that the opposition's version of events is more popular amongst the EU than the government's. However, he questioned how anyone could still doubt that his former deputy Ahmed Adheeb, who is one of the political prisoners EU demands released, was not guilty of his crimes.

"What he attempted was not a trivial thing. We still don't know the whereabouts of hundred of millions of Maldivian Rufiyaa missing from the state treasury," said Yameen, referring to Adheeb's conviction for his involvement in the biggest embezzlement scandal in Maldives' history.

"And he intended to murder the president of Maldives by blowing up his speedboat," he added, referring to the blast aboard the presidential speedboat in September 2015 while both Yameen and First Lady Fathimath Ibrahim were aboard. Ahmed Adheeb was convicted of orchestrating the explosion in an attempt to assassinate President Yameen.

The president declared that if he were to take such crimes lightly and oblige every order of the Supreme Court or a body such as the EU, then peace would never reign in the Maldives.

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