President Abdulla Yameen has criticized diplomats for speaking about foreign policy issues in the islands, after authorities banned councils from meeting envoys without prior written permission.
He said foreign policy should be discussed with the government but denied accusations his administration did not not respect diplomats, saying there were rules they needed to adhere to.
“If the diplomats and visitors are visiting different islands in Maldives to offer aid to the people, the processes in international treaties is that it is done through the government, if the aid is being given by one country to another or one government to another,” he said.
“When a diplomat goes and [before letting the government know] tells some people in an island that they are going to do something for the community and when it is not done, the government is responsible and has to explain why it did not happen.”
The government has been criticised for barring local councils from meeting foreign diplomats. A Local Government Authority order banned such meetings without permission from Malé even as the Indian Ambassador Akhilesh Mishra and his British counterpart were visiting islands.
Yameen hit back at opposition accusations of tyranny.
“This government is not the tyrannical one. This government has not arrested and jailed people. If arresting and jailing someone is a punishment, it is something that has been done since ancient times in the Maldives.”
He said that punishment became tyranny when it was done outside the law and established systems, challenging people to prove something like that had taken place.
Yameen made the remarks as he inaugurated various projects. But there were protests in Kendhoo against his visit, criticising unfulfilled pledges.
The police removed the banners, placards and posters.