Convenor of the All Party talks, Ahmed Mujthaba, confirmed at a press conference this morning that party representatives would attend a three-day retreat at Bandos Island Resort from Thursday, to try and reach a consensus on the six-point agenda.
The India-sponsored roadmap talks were put forward to try and break the political deadlock following the controversial ousting of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) on February 7.
Despite stalling several times due to disagreements over the subject and order of the agenda, challenges from the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) over the legality of the MDP’s representation, and the higher profile of the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) into the circumstances surrounding the change of power, the roadmap talks have continued.
The six items on the agenda on the agenda are, in order:
- Discussion on how to solve the problem of public disturbances carried out in the country;
- Discussion on assessing the state budget situation;
- Discussion on identifying reforms needed for institutions and independent posts;
- Discussion on assessing the laws to be amends and new laws to be enacted;
- Discussion on amendments to the constitution;
- Discussion on determining a date for a presidential election.
The next round of talks had been scheduled at Bandos – a resort owned by Vice President Waheed Deen – to allow the parties to focus on the issues without the distractions of a normal working day, Mujthaba said.
MDP representative at the talks, former Tourism Minister Dr Mariyam Zulfa, said she felt the atmosphere was now conducive towards productive discussion, and said the MDP was trying to get the leaders of all the parties assembled on the final day – “there might be something to sign,” she suggested.
“I think the Commonwealth’s insistence on changing the composition of the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) has driven home to the government the seriousness of of these talks,” she added.
The original objective of the talks, as put forward by President Mohamed Waheed, was to “restore peace and harmony in the country”, Dr Zulfa noted. “Disruption of peace and harmony was not something that just fell out of the sky. At least a third of the country are upset about the rights that have been taken away from them.”
Deputy Leader and Spokesperson of the Dhivehi Rayithunge Party (DRP) Ibrahim ‘Mavota’ Shareef was not responding at time of press, while Vice President of the PPM Umar Naseer was in Singapore.
UN Mediator Pierre Yves Monett, who is assisting Mujthaba with the talks, also attended the press conference this morning. Mujthaba noted that Monett had been provided with interpreters as the talks would be conducted in Dhivehi.