Everything you need to know about Maldives Chagos island dispute

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21st Oct 2022- Attorney General Ibrahim Riffath revealed at the Special Chamber of International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) during the oral proceedings in the dispute concerning delimitation of the maritime boundary between Mauritius and Maldives that President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih had sent a letter to the Mauritian Prime Minister informing that Maldives will vote in favor of Mauritius to recognize Chagos as part of Mauritius.

23rd Oct- Emergency motion filed by the opposition to maintain the governments stand against Mauritius in the parliament. Claimed the ruling govt. made some deals to sell off its EEZ.

24th Oct- Mohamed Nasheed tells that Chagos Islands is a part of Maldives and should not be given to Mauritus

24th Oct– Former AG Dr. Mohamed Munavvar states that the Maldives stand on the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice was changed by the influence of India. Dr. Munavvar says that India will benefit the most if Chagos archipelago was given to Mauritius

Economic Minister Claps back:

26th Oct- Fayazz puts out three very relevant questions, suggesting that the entire situation is being over hyped. His questions:

1. Why in 2011, during his presidency an agreement was signed to set boundaries between Maldives and Mauritius?

2. Why no action was taken by the Yameen’s government when in 2017, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) decided to recognize Chagos as part of Mauritius, and that it needed to be handed back to the country?

3. Why in 1992, then AG, Dr. Munavvar was in conversation with the UK to establish boundaries between Maldives and Chagos ?

The history:

July 2010- Maldives submitted claims to the United Nations for an extended continental shelf and new coordinates that claimed the full 200 nautical mile EEZ measured from Addu.

2011- Speaker Nasheed said following the discussions held between the Maldivian and Mauritian governments in 2011 during his presidency that both governments had agreed to hold talks with the UK government to find a solution.

As the joint communique failed, Mauritius initiated legal proceedings against both Maldives and the United Kingdom. Its action against the United Kingdom resulted in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issuing an advisory opinion in 2019 that the decolonisation of Mauritius from the United Kingdom had not been lawfully complete

Aug 2019-Mauritius also brought an action against Maldives before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), including expanded claims of Chagos’ EEZ measured from new baselines

2019- Maldives voted against the resolution in the 2019 vote at the UN along with the United States, Hungary, Israel and Australia voted against the resolution, while 56 countries abstained from the vote. 116 nations were in favor of the motion, setting a six-month deadline for Britain to withdraw from the Chagos island chain and for the islands to be reunified with neighboring Mauritius.

Jan 2021- ITLOS rejects Maldives’ argument that the tribunal had no power to hear claims involving disputed sovereignty over Chagos.

Oral proceedings began on October 17.

Presently- The Government of the Maldives has stated that the opposition is attempting to misinform the public about the Chagos Islands dispute with Mauritius in order to make it a political issue.

Spokesperson Miuvaan says the previous administration of President Abdulla Yameen in 2017 and the current administration in 2019 voted against Mauritius, but that decision was also criticised by the opposition. He said the PPM had claimed voting against Mauritius would harm the national interest, when they did the same in 2017.

AGO released a statement following the public criticism stating that the dispute case concerning delimitation of the maritime boundary between Mauritius and Maldives in the Indian Ocean which is currently on going in the ITLOS are two separate issues and that the vote will have no effect on the dispute.

Currently, the Maldives stance, be it in in favor or against Mauritius would ultimately come back to bite the hand of the government as both the PM’s in Mauritius and UK are of Indian decent. Regardless of what decision they make, the opposition is sure to seek this opportunity to create some doubt.