Leaked document fake; no military assurance in letter: Pres
When asked about it by a reporter, he said that on a normal basis, when heads of states travel from one country to another, they make such arrangements.
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said on Friday that a leaked copy of a letter he sent to his Mauritian counterpart acknowledging Mauritius' sovereignty over Chagos circulating on social media was fake and that no military aspects was mentioned in his actual letter.
In 2019, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution calling on Britain to hand over Chagos to Mauritius within six months, following the International Court of Justice's (ICJ) ruling that Mauritius has sovereign authority over Chagos.
The Maldives voted against the resolution in 2019
The president wrote a letter to his Mauritian counterpart in August, acknowledging that Chagos was part of Mauritius's sovereign territory in accordance with the ICJ's decision
The president's letter’s existence came to light at the end of last year when Attorney General Ibrahim Riffath revealed it during a hearing on Mauritius' request to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) to settle the disputed part of the sea between the Maldives and Chagos
The government and the president have come under fire from the opposition over the letter.
A document claiming to be the president's letter has surfaced on social media this week. According to the document, the Maldives has also agreed to allow Mauritius military vessels to travel through the Maldives.
At a press conference after ITLOS’s verdict on Friday evening, in response to a question from Atoll Times regarding the letter, the president said the document on social media was not authentic.
The president said that all the main points contained in his letter were covered in ITLOS’s judgment. Here are some of the points he made:
He explained why the Maldives voted against Mauritius at the United Nations in 2019; it stated that it was not a vote against Mauritius' indictment of Chagos, but that the Maldives had opposed the resolution because ITLOS had not yet made a decision on the legal objection filed by the Maldives in the case
Since then, when the tribunal ruled that Mauritius has sovereign power over Chagos and that it can look into its case, the Maldives had accepted it
That he expressed his concerns as it was a close, neighbouring country
"That's what I said,'' he said.
"There's no mention of warships entering our territory like they’re saying. It's a lie. It's not my letter that has been circulating."
According to ITLOS’s ruling, the president's letter, in addition to acknowledging Mauritius' sovereign power over Chagos, assured that the Maldives would cooperate and facilitate any future visit by Mauritian prime minister to Chagos.
When asked about it by a reporter, he said that on a normal basis, when heads of states travel from one country to another, they make such arrangements for their transit.
According to the verdict, Mauritius, in response to the president's letter, had decided not to advocate for 460,000 Euros (MVR 7.8 million) previously sought as compensation for the cost incurred due to Maldives' failure to cooperate with a study conducted in February last year by sending a team to Blenheim reef, south of Addu.
There's no mention of warships entering our territory like they’re saying. It's a lie. It's not my letter that has been circulating.
In the case of separation between Chagos and Maldives, it has been ruled that the separation of the islands of Chagos should be taken into consideration from the coast of Chagos island. With this, the Maldives has received a large portion of the disputed territory.
The International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) on Friday sided with the Maldives in the dispute with Mauritius surrounding the delimitation of the maritime boundary of the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) of the Maldives and the Chagos archipelago, awarding a bigger portion to the Maldives.
In its judgement, ITLOS rejected Mauritius' argument that Blenheim Reef should be considered as a base point in drawing the equidistance line.