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Maldives opposition seeks UN-mediated talks

In an open letter Friday, the allied parties asked President Yameen to clear up the government’s stance on talks after reports that a mediation offer from Secretary-General António Guterresr was declined.



The joint opposition has urged the government to engage in UN-mediated talks to peacefully resolve a protracted political crisis and avert targeted sanctions threatened by the European Union.

In an open letter Friday, the allied parties asked President Abdulla Yameen to clear up the government’s stance on UN mediation, “a fundamental element of the talks”. 

“There are times when your government outright rejects UN-mediated talks but on other occasions, your ministers have spoken of welcoming UN involvement,” they said, referring to reports that Yameen had declined a mediation offer from Secretary-General António Guterres despite government assertions to the contrary.

“The [resumption of talks] getting prolonged, stalled and unclear could lead to a possible situation where economic sanctions will have to be imposed against the Maldives…Investments and especially tourism will be weakened as a result.”

On March 12, recently appointed legal advisor Ben Emmerson will accompany a joint party delegation in New York and Washington to lobby the UN, the letter added, urging Yameen to lift the state of emergency and execute the February 1 Supreme Court order for the release of nine prisoners.

The government blames the opposition’s “preconditions” for the failure to revive talks despite several rounds of negotiations aided by UN envoy since 2015.

Contacted for a comment, the president’s spokesman Ibrahim Muaz Ali said: “You know very well the letter is highly unlikely to reach the president [during the weekend]. And the president will officially respond if it is addressed to him. We do not publicly reveal responses to letters sent by individuals or organisations.”

The open letter was co-signed by Maldivian Democratic Party chairman Hassan Latheef, Jumhooree Party deputy leader Hussain Rasheed Hassan, Adhaalath Party vice-president Ali Zahir, and Yumna Maumoon on behalf of jailed former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.