MP Musthafa to submit resolution against maritime agreement with Sri Lanka

MP Mohamed Musthafa of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has demanded the government withdraw a maritime agreement with the Sri Lankan government – an agreement to allow Sri Lankan vessels passage through Maldivian waters to to the Arabian sea – or face a binding resolution from parliament that will force the government to invalidate the agreement.

“The agreement is for opening Maldivian waters for Sri Lankan fisherman to steal our fish in Maldivian [territorial] waters,” Musthafa claimed. “The Sri Lankan government knows that the Maldivian waters are rich in fish and has many fishing points, that is why they have made this agreement.”

Musthafa said that Sri Lankan vessels would not normally have the fuel capacity to reach Arabian waters.

“Their intention is to steal our fish, but I cannot just stand aside and watch while they take away our fish, which is the only source of natural resource we have in abundance,” he said. “It is a right that has to be preserved for future generations.”

In response to reports in the Sri Lankan media that an agreement had been signed, Fisheries Minister Dr Ibrahim Didi told local media today that no such agreement had been signed.

However Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair confirmed to newspaper Haveeru that a maritime agreement had been signed.

“The agreement abides by the International Maritime Law and no side can disregard that. If a vessel intends to make a crossing it has to inform the Sri Lankan Embassy in the Maldives 48 hours earlier to enable a lawful process,” Zuhair said.

Musthafa meanwhile said that he had confirmed the signing of the agreement.

“I cannot tell the media who signed it on behalf of the Maldives, but I can say that the Foreign Minister will be aware of this,” he said, adding that Dr Didi’s remarks were made because he was unaware of the agreement.

“I will see how the government decides to act upon this issue and will submit the resolution if it does not withdraw this agreement,” he said.

Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror reported that the agreement will allow Sri Lankan fishing vessels to cross Maldivian territorial waters en route to the Arabian Sea.

Local news outlet Sun Online meanwhile reported the head of the DRP’s fishermen’s branch Ali Solih condemned the deal as “an insult to Maldivian fisherman” and “a dangerous deal,” since the Maldives did not have the capacity to monitor illegal fishing.


9 thoughts on “MP Musthafa to submit resolution against maritime agreement with Sri Lanka”

  1. I do not see any reason why Maldives even has to sign an agreement with Sri Lanka on this issue unless it is for political purposes just to show the solidarity with Sri Lanka.
    This is transition is allowed under the United Nations Convention " Law of the Seas".
    People who are complaining against this shows their ignorance.

    What they should be complaining is to see how the Government would protect the local fisheries if the Sri Lankans poach the fish in Maldivian waters.
    This is a valid issue and the if this was such an important issue The Majlis should be asking this question from the MNDF and not Mustapha wasting everyone's time and money and filing ridiculous cases in the local courts.
    But knowing the idiocy of the courts they would of course accept his case and would waste all the time in The World in this.

  2. Again Muthafa is showing of his ignorance. I am not surprised at all, after all he has graduated from Male’ Wharf University.

  3. Bad news for the Maldivians - Sri Lanka only recently completed a genocide on the Tamils!

  4. As a firm supporter of President Nasheed this time (sadly), this time I have to agree that this agreement should not have been signed. It is against our vital economic interest.

    Sri Lankan fishermen have long sought this so-called "access through Maldivian territorial waters into the Arabian Sea" for their vessels and time and again the Maldivian Government had diplomatically kept the issue at bay.

    There was no reciprocal benefit for our fishermen by signing this agreement. It is a poor judgement by whoever who agreed to this.

    There is no way to enforce the agreement and Sri Lankan fishermen will no doubt start fishing in our waters.

    The fact that Ministry of Fisheries is unaware of this agreement raises many questions. I am 100% sure that the officials at the Fisheries Ministry would never have agreed to this.

    The Maldivian Fishermen use the pole and line method for fishing (which is quite environment friendly) but business has been down to several years of poor catch.

    At a time like this when our fishermen are suffering it is politically insane to sign this agreement pitching the fishermen against the government.

    We need a way out of this agreement. And soon.

  5. He is a graduate from University of Saziyya (jamasha). There will not be any roofed structure where he went for education.

  6. Musthafa is good man.

    Like double side tape.

    When Anni gives some cash his mouth will be closed.

  7. To all you criticise this agreement, it is a pointless agreement just signed to make it look good between Sri Lanka and Maldives.
    The UN Convention on Law of the Seas allows this transition and there is nothing much anyone can do about this.
    All this signing is making it formal and probably make it easier for the Maldives to keep tabs on what is going on.


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