Minister of Fisheries denies an agreement between Sri Lanka and the Maldives
Maldivian Minister of Fisheries and the president of ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Dr. Ibrahim Didi said that no agreements have been signed with Sri Lanka to enable Sri Lankan fishermen to travel to the Arabian Sea via the Maldivian waters. According to Daily Mirror, Sri Lankan Fishermen, who journey to the Arabian Sea, generally have to take a longer route to avoid trespassing onto Maldivian waters. “Those who travel from the west of India have to take a longer route,” Deputy Minister of External Affairs Neomal Perera said. The new agreement provides that if authorities are informed in advance of a Sri Lankan vessel approaching Maldivian waters, safe passage through to the Arabian Sea could be ensured. “If those traveling could inform our Embassy in the Maldives by Fax or E-mail 48 hours in advance, then arrangements could be made for them to travel through Maldivian waters,” he explained. He added that this would save vessels time and fuel costs. Maldivian Minister of Fisheries said that the report of Daily Mirror is not true.
“It is not true. We haven’t signed such an agreement,” said Dr. Ibrahim Didi.
Dr. Ibrahim Didi said that vessel of any country can cross the Maldivian waters due to the International Maritime Conventions signed by the Maldives, but such vessels have to inform and get the permission of Maldivian National Defense Force (MNDF).
“Not only Sri Lankan vessels, but vessels of any country can cross the waters, with the required permission. If a vessel of another country wants to cross Maldivian waters, then they have to get the permission from MNDF. And the vessel will be crossing the Maldivian waters under the supervision of MNDF,” said the Minister.
Daily Mirror reported that the agreement was signed in the Maldives, while Deputy Minister of External Affairs Neomal Perera was on a visit to the Maldives recently.
Regarding the news Mohamed Mustafa, MP for Thimarafushi Constituency and outspoken member of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party has vowed today to propose a resolution in the People’s Majlis against the government decision to permit Sri Lankan fishermen to enter Maldivian territorial waters on their way to the Arabian Sea.