The President’s Office rejected today a call by the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) to seek third-party mediation in talks which have been stalled since mid-July.
Ibrahim Muaz Ali, the president’s office spokesperson, told the Maldives Independent that the government does not want “foreign parties to intervene in domestic affairs of the Maldives.”
Condemning the government for its failure to honor commitments made during the talks, MDP MP MP Ibrahim ‘Ibu’ Mohamed Solih told local media this week: “A third party who can take the necessary steps if terms are not respected, must be involved in the talks.”
The MDP has previously said it had backed the impeachment of Vice President Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed and a constitutional amendment setting age limits of 30-65 years for the presidency and the vice-presidency after the government assured freedom for former President Mohamed Nasheed.
It also issued a free whip on a second amendment to allow foreigners to own land in the Maldives. The amendment passed with 70 votes in favor.
Instead of releasing Nasheed on July 23 as expected, the Prosecutor General in an unprecedented move, decided to appeal the guilty verdict. The appeal has not been filed yet.
Nasheed’s 13-year jail term was commuted to house arrest on July 19. He was convicted of terrorism over the arrest of a judge during his tenure. The trial was widely criticized for lack of due process.
At the outset of the talks, the MDP had proposed India act as a mediator. Ibu, speaking at a press conference with Home Minister Umar Naseer said the MDP had withdrawn its proposal because the government was seeking assistance from the UN.
But Muaz today said the government had never requested UN involvement in the talks.
“Technical assistance like in the monitoring of elections is most welcome, but the government has so far not sought any active involvement of any foreign party in the all party talks”, Muaz said.
Ibu was not responding to calls at the time of going to press.
He had told local media that the suspension of talks has disheartened MDP members.
The government is yet to announced when the next round of talks will be held. Muaz said the next date will be decided by the government and the MDP, and declined to comment on MDP’s assertion that the government had failed to honour commitments.
On August 29, MDP’s national council held a closed door meeting to discuss whether it will continue the talks that had started on July 1, 2015.
MDP Spokesman MP Imthiyaz Fahmy told Maldives Independent that the national council members had shared their views and questioned Majlis minority leader Ibu on how talks had proceeded with the government
The council did not make decisions on the matter, but agreed to strengthen the party’s activities.
The MDP continues its nightly meetings, but has stopped street protests.