Maldives urged to sign Arms Trade Treaty

Maldives urged to sign Arms Trade Treaty
October 29 13:58 2015

Raising concern over a government deal for a private armory in the Maldives, a parliamentarian has called on the government to sign the UN’s Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

MP Ahmed Mahloof said he fears a terrorist attacks in the Maldives due to a climate of growing insecurity in the wake of the arms deal, the explosion on President Abdulla Yameen’s speedboat on September 28 and the disproportionate outflow of Maldivians to Syria.

Earlier this month, a Malta based company, Marshall Consultants Group, confirmed to The Maldives Independent plans to build an armory in Haa Alif Uligan, but said it would be supervised by the Maldives army and would cater to the demand for security for ships transiting Indian Ocean.

The government, however, has denied the existence of the deal.

The ATT is a multi-lateral treaty that regulates international trade in conventional weapons. The Maldives co-sponsored the treaty at the UN but has not signed and ratified it so far, Mahloof said.

“There is no reason we should not sign the treaty. Just one terrorist attack could cripple tourism here, our economic mainstay,” he said.

Mahloof has asked the People’s Majlis to summon the defence minister to inquire about plans to sign the treaty.

“The deal for the private armory could also facilitate trade in arms. If we sign the ATT, it would regulate the trade and decrease the risk of terrorism here. There is a huge push internationally for countries to sign the treaty.”

Some 77 states have ratified the treaty, while 55 have signed, but not ratified it.