Maldives delegation forced to return ahead of UNESCO vote for Palestinian membership, says Press Secretary

The Maldives delegation to the 36th UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) General Conference was forced to return without participating in yesterday’s vote to grant full membership to Palestine, Press Secretary to the President Mohamed Zuhair has said.

Zuhair said the delegation, which included Education Minister Mariyam Shifa and Deputy Education Minister Dr Abdulla Nazeer, were unaware of a vote when they attended the bi-annual meeting of the UN cultural agency.

“They were travelling on a UNESCO ticket and they had difficulties in extending their stay, besides Education Minister had to attend a [parliamentary] committee meeting the next day,” Zuhair explained. “Due to those reasons they were forced to return but that does not mean that the Maldives worked against the Palestine resolution. It was co-sponsored by the Maldives and we did a lot of campaigning for it.”

The resolution was adopted with 107 countries voting in favour, 14 voting against and 52 abstaining. The vote signaled a significant symbolic victory for Palestine’s bid for statehood ahead of a similar vote at the UN General Assembly in New York.

Zuhair said the Ambassador to France, Dr Farhanaz Faisal, was in the Maldives at the time and Ambassador to Geneva, Ibthisham Adam, was unable to attend on short notice.

Opposition parties, including Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) and religiously conservative Adhaalath Party, has meanwhile condemned the non-participation and dismissed the reasons provided as “unacceptable.”

Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) Media Coordinator MP Ahmed Nihan told Minivan News that the government’s stated reasons for the non-participation was very irresponsible.

“What they are saying to defend themselves is a big joke to me and does not make much sense,” said Nihan. “The campaign they did and the co-sponsoring the resolution is a big drama the government played.”

The Vili-Maafanu MP claimed the last time he sent a notice to the Education Minister to attend a parliament committee, she appared one and half month later.

“So the cabinet ministers in this government does not give that much attention to attend committee meetings and saying that they returned without taking part in the vote does not make any sense at all,”

He alleged the absence of the Maldives delegation was the result of conversations between former Defence Minister Ameen Faisal and Israeli intelligence agency MOSSAD revealed by the Wikileaks US State Department cables

Nihan claimed the current government had “secret relations with Israel” and suggested hidden reasons behind the non-participation.

Press Secretary Zuhair however dismissed the insinuations as attempts by the opposition to “politicise the matter and mislead the public.”

“The Maldives will be one country that worked most to make the Palestine resolution get passed,” he said.


24 thoughts on “Maldives delegation forced to return ahead of UNESCO vote for Palestinian membership, says Press Secretary”

  1. 9400 IDIOTS JOINED PPM TODAY. A record to be in third place if and when these forms authenticated. Many in the islands were totally unaware what they have been signing into.

  2. Yaameen was in touch with Muiz everyday when he was in Singapore. If the authorities can check the telephone records they can find out how many times both of them were in touch whenever the shipments were underway.

  3. Ah, now all the parties are complaining about Palestine. It's simple really. If you want more support, just complain about how evil the west is, and bend over for Palestine. The people would rush in with their votes. It's a pity really, because they only support the country to increase their popularity in terms of politics. But then again, this is politics we're talking about!

  4. 'unaware of the vote' when they attended. that means the education ministry did not prepare to attend the meeting

    agendas of meetings are circulated months in advance and one can actually look it up online

  5. the point is tha minister and deputy should not say they are unaware - as educators, they must be the most aware people

    it's like kids saying to teacher that they forgot to do homework

  6. This is pure garbage from Zuhair. This meeting has been on the UNESCO agenda for sometime. If the Ministry of Education did not know this then she is not competent to be The Minister.

    I think she went shopping in Paris instead of attending the meeting.

    The point Zuhair makes has no validity too as it does not need the Minister to say "Yes" at the vote. Any Maldivian authorised can do that.
    Now Zuhair is trying to do damage limitation.

    As for as Israeli plot and Nihan that man is an imbecile. Doesn't he know that Maldives co-sponsored the Palestinian bid? No this was pure and simple incompetency from The Education Minister.

  7. We have three ambassadors in Europe, one in UK, Belgium and Geneva. None of them counldn't manage to attend this important and historic voting session? What a planed coincidence! How come delegates from more than 120 nation attended this meeting but two maldivian delegates despite the fact already been in europe couldn't manage to attend the meeting? Its hard to accept your reasons Mr Zuhair. Even a child would know you are talking rubbish and bullocks. Liars. You guys did it because of the pressure from US and Israel. Just say it and admit your dirty acts. You guys can go on like this only until the next election, for you all know you wont be in those very same seats after the next election. Disgusting creatures who are becoming slaves of USA and Israel.

  8. Zuhair is lying! This was a deliberate stunt by the Maldivian delegation so that they couldn't be seen as voting against the interests of American and Israel.

    Neither I, nor the majority of Maldivians believe the lies of puppets of the present regime, such as Zuhair. I am increasingly convinced that the MDP government has to go and their time is definitely up!

  9. Is this a matter of trying to put the blame on someone?

    MAldives Ambassador to Palestine is Dr. Farhanaz Faizal . She is also the Ambassador to France so there is no reason why Maldives should not be voting.

  10. The Government delegations must participate in these votes. That is why we send a delegation. Political Parties should force their MPs to sit in the Majlis and complete the bills. They find fault with the Government but fail in executing their duties.

  11. Don't we have a permanent delegation to the UN. If the Minister was unable to attend it due to being "unaware" of the vote though we supposedly co-sponsored and campaigned on their behalf, the ambassador to the UN should have been able to vote for it. This is just another cock and bull story out of the idiots that run the country trying to keep up their facade that they are nothing but bought and paid for stooges of Tories.

  12. The government seems to lack the courage to stand by its decisions. If it had wanted to vote against, or abstain from voting,to admit Palestine to UNESCO membership, it should say so with courage. It could have said, "We did what we did because we considered that served the country's interest best."

  13. @Laila - yes quite right that the country has been sold to the Jews, best thing the President has done! The people will be better off under their new masters!!!

  14. No doubt no one believes the swill that Zuhair is forced to bleat on a daily basis.

    However, his puppetmaster would have known that no one would buy into this drivel.

    So what do they do? They sacrifice the most disposable and politically insignificant persons they have in their government. I feel sorry for Shifa. She was never a politician and she would not realize when she's being pushed around.

  15. why do the palatines get a vote from us, they have been occupying a land which aint theirs in the first place and sponsoring terrorism for the past few decades.

  16. bodey, ok so the srilankans should come and lay a claim on maldives and we should all go to saudi arabia

  17. Why are all these ministers travelling all the time. Looks like that's all what they so now. Look up 'conferences' on the internet and take off. Finance Ministry should not be providing the fund of unnecessary travel like this. The country doesn't gain anything. The ministers have a good time. That's all. The fact that they are not aware of the agenda is enough proof.

  18. @Ahmed bin Addu bin Suvadheeb

    Yes , Zuhair is lying.
    Ambassador in Geneva is currently in Maldives on leave. He is the permanent delegation to UN in Geneva not to UNESCO.
    UNESCO Election meeting is in PAris every year so it is not Geneva . Education delegation should have voted before they left

  19. This is UNESCO and the Education Minister went to Paris for UNESCO Meeting. The Palestinian Vote has been on the Agenda and as Zuhair says that Maldives co-sponsored this motion.

    So why is the Minister not aware of a meeting that has been co sponsored by The Maldives.

    I think the Government is in trouble not because they did not want to vote but The Minister and the Deputy messed this up and the Government has to either make up an excuse for her or sack her and Anni does not want to sack her.

    This has got nothing to do with either Israel or USA. The Minister simply messed up.

  20. i am so embarassed by maldives, we should show solidarity with any country fighting to be recognised, every single SAARC country had the guts to do this...we just look like uncaring, unhumane bastards only out to lick US/Israel arses. zuhair's comments just make us look stupid..... im kicking my self for voting in this maniac government who shows no respect for maldivians or the opinions of most maldivians, and continues to prostitute our country left right and centre

  21. Maldives high commisioner in UK Dr Farhanaz could have got to Paris for voting even if it was a short notice. Four airports of london is connected with two airports of Paris with hundreds of 24 hr daily flights between London and Paris. And the flight time is hardly 35-40 mins. So if the Maldivian government had th eintention and will to vote for Palestines membership which took place in Paris, they could have managed easily to do so. Delegates from far africa and caribean managed to attend the voting session, how come maldives couldn't? The government is lying and has no means to justify this disgusting action of them.


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