Thursday, 17 September 2015

Government is disappointed that British Foreign Office Minister refuses to meet with Government’s Legal Representative

Issued By 

6th September 2015; The Government of Maldives expresses its profound disappointment and concern over the refusal of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to allow the Government’s legal representatives to attend a pre-arranged meeting, in London, between H. E. Ms Dunya Maumoon, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Maldives, and The Rt Hon Hugo Swire, Minister of State, of the FCO.

The Government of Maldives stresses that this meeting was originally scheduled at a telephone discussion between the two ministers. The Government of Maldives maintains that the presence of its legal advisers at the said meeting is vital to give both a full and comprehensive briefing on the current case facing former President Nasheed, as well as on other key reforms that are being undertaken with their assistance.

It is important to note that Minister Swire repeatedly refused to meet the Government’s legal representatives. This is despite him meeting with former President Nasheed’s wife and his international legal counsel, Mrs Amal Clooney, on 24th June 2015, a meeting which he decided to publicize on social media posting a picture of them together in his office accompanied by a welcoming message.

Through Minister Swire, it is the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office that is taking a biased position on a domestic legal case in Maldives.

Indeed, it is to be noted that this is not an isolated fact. Last week, former President Nasheed’s legal team was also hosted by the UK High Commissioner to the Maldives in Colombo. The Government viewed this flagrant display of prejudice, but chose not to raise it with the British Government. After today’s events, it is becoming evident that, with regards to the Maldives, the British Government is acting contrary to the fundamental principles of international diplomacy. 

The Government came in to office in 2013 in an election that was recognised internationally, including by the Commonwealth. Today’s events demonstrate a disingenuousness and disrespect that are unbecoming of an institution such as the British Foreign Office.

We urge the Minister of State and his colleagues to drastically rethink their current approach that will only prove to be damaging and counter-productive to the ties between our two nations.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Republic of the Maldives

Website: www.foreign.gov.mv

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