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President Yameen slams foreign interference in Independence Day address



President Abdulla Yameen has slammed foreign interference in Maldivian domestic affairs, condemning alleged efforts to undermine the country’s sovereignty and spread “ideologies and cultural norms contrary to Islamic faith and principles.”

Addressing the nation at an official function held tonight to mark the golden jubilee of independence, Yameen warned that “threats from outside are far more dangerous than those from within.”

“There is no denying that there are those who attempt, in different ways, to cultivate cultural norms and so-called values that are alien to and frowned upon by our Islamic faith,” he said.

“We have also seen that those who stood up and voiced their concerns over such attempt have faced economic sanctions and political marginalisation.”

Yameen said the Maldives does not “discriminate in proactively forging and strengthening friendly and mutually-beneficial ties with any country that respects our independence and sovereignty.”

“Our membership of international bodies and multilateral organisations are also founded upon the their respect for our independence and sovereignty,” he said, adding that the Maldives will not become involved in “military, political or geopolitical rivalry” of world powers.

“We are disappointed that some countries, and indeed some prominent bodies within these countries, have seen it fit to interfere in domestic affairs in the Maldives, while taking the liberty to question judicial independence and integrity and condemning us for not supporting certain norms and ideologies that are entirely alien to our culture, our faith and our traditions,” he said.

Referring to a Commonwealth-backed inquiry into the transfer of presidential power in February 2012, Yameen said: “Could you tell me one country in Earth that would welcome others, and not their own people, determining the legality of its own government?”

“Could you tell me who will rejoice at foreign powers taking the liberty to disregard the laws of the land and adopting instead their own norms in passing judgement on domestic criminal matters?”

The remarks follow the president seeking parliamentary counsel last week on the Maldives’ continued membership in the Commonwealth following lobbying efforts for an assessment of Maldives’ alleged violations of the organisation’s principles with the imprisonment of opposition politicians, including former President Mohamed Nasheed.

Yameen went on to accuse “powerful nations” of taking “undue advantage” of the Maldives’ economic dependence.

Yameen noted that the Maldives has a 2,300-year proud history of self-rule.

The biggest challenge to independence was the secession of three southern atolls in 1960 “under the influence of a colonial power,” he suggested.

The actions of previous rulers in seeking assistance from foreigners to resolve domestic disputes threatened the country’s independence and sovereignty, Yameen said.

“Economic independence”

Yameen stressed that economic independence and prosperity are essential for the public to “reap the fruits of independence.”

“Furthermore, social harmony, peace and prosperity cannot be achieved without economic self-determination and improved standards of living,” he said.

Investment from large corporations and “strategic alliances in business” will “safeguard the country from any future attempts at compromising our sovereignty,” he suggested.

Creating urban centres and providing education and jobs to youth are priorities of the current administration, Yameen said.

He also contended that negative influences of modernisation, globalisation and the democracy movement has damaged the country’s “social fabric.”

“Many people in society have been plagued, in recent years, by ill-behaviour and lawlessness, more often than not the bitter outcome of so-called attempts at improving fundamental liberties and improving human rights,” he said.

“Hatred and slander have shattered the centuries-old unity and harmony in our society, and these concerns have today escalated to such a level that our nation’s sovereignty and independence have come under repeated threat as a result. They have also hampered our economic progress and prosperity.”

Prior to his speech, President Yameen presented ‘Golden Jubilee Shields of Honour’ to former President Ibrahim Nasir’s grandson and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom in recognition of their efforts to secure and maintain independence.

Video presentations preceded the handing over ceremony, listing the achievements of the second and third presidents of the Republic.

Several foreign dignitaries, including Sri Lankan President Maithripala Srisena, attended the official function, which was followed by a reception and banquet hosted by President Yameen at the Dharubaaruge convention centre.

Read official translation of the Independence Day address.