The Maldives government has denied retracting its stance on the dispute over the delimitation of the maritime boundary of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Maldives and the Chagos Archipelago, contrary to claims made by the opposition Progressive Congress Coalition. In a statement issued on Thursday, the government reiterated its position on the ongoing case at the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), stating that it remains steadfast in its stance regarding its EEZ.

Contrary to allegations, the Maldives government stated that it did not act outside its constitutional mandate on this matter. The Maldives government also denied accusations made by the Progressive Coalition, calling them a “petty attempt at scoring cheap political points on a matter of great public sensitivity.”

The Maldives had previously voted “No” on the United Nations General Assembly resolution titled “Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legal consequences of the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965”. However, the Maldives government clarified that this vote was not against the resolution and was not reflective of Maldives’ long-standing position on supporting decolonization efforts.

The Maldives government stated that it had informed the Government of Mauritius that it would vote yes, should the General Assembly resolution be considered again, following ITLOS’s pronouncement that Mauritius has sovereign rights over Chagos. However, this decision is not related to the issue of delimiting the maritime boundary between the Maldives and the Chagos Archipelago.

The Maldives government expressed its disappointment at political parties’ attempts to mislead the Maldivian public and the international community on this issue. The government remains confident that the issue of delimiting the maritime boundary between the Maldives and the Chagos Archipelago will be resolved fairly and equally by ITLOS, taking into consideration the arguments put forward by the Maldives regarding this issue.

The Maldives government had previously raised preliminary objections in the ITLOS case, stating that the Tribunal does not have the jurisdiction to hear the case while there is an ongoing dispute over the sovereignty of the Chagos Archipelago between the United Kingdom and Mauritius. However, ITLOS held that it had jurisdiction to hear the case submitted by Mauritius, having regard to the International Court of Justice’s advisory opinion on the question of the sovereignty of the Chagos Archipelago.