On Thursday 29th November, the Southend West MP raised with the Government the state of diplomatic relations between the UK and the Maldives. The MP had earlier in the year been part of a delegation to observe and oversee the presidential elections in the country.
Following President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s recent inauguration, the UK has been keen to re-engage diplomatic relations and support efforts to enhance democracy and human rights in the Maldives.
Sir David asked the Leader of the House, Andrea Leadsom, if Parliament could ‘find time for a debate on relations between the Maldives and the United Kingdom? Following the defeat of President Gayoom in 2008, there have been endless arguments about the legitimacy of succeeding Presidents. Now that President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has been elected emphatically, I hope that the Maldives will rejoin the Commonwealth and that we can restore full diplomatic relations with the country.’
The Leader of the House replied ‘My hon. Friend raises an excellent point. We were very pleased that our non-resident ambassador to the Maldives represented the UK at the presidential oath-of-office ceremony in Malé on 17 November. We certainly welcomed President Solih’s announcement that his Government would commence steps to rejoin the Commonwealth. We also welcome his Government’s announcement on the freeing of political prisoners and launching of investigations into corruption, fraud and money laundering. Under previous regimes, democratic freedoms were restricted, but we stand ready to work with the new Administration to improve on the situation.’