President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Friday lauded the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) ruling in a maritime border dispute with Mauritius as a testament to the Maldives’ commitment to international law and norms.

The case had been ongoing for some time, with both countries claiming sovereignty over the area and the potential resources it contains. The dispute centred on the Blenheim Reef, with Mauritius arguing that it should be the starting point for measuring the border between the two countries. The Maldives presented scientific evidence and satellite images to demonstrate that the reef could not be considered a base point. The ITLOS special chamber agreed with the Maldives and drew an equidistance line that excluded any base point from the disputed reef.

As a result of the ruling, the Maldives received a larger share of the disputed waters, totalling 92,563 square metres. While the country retained an area of 47,232 square metres, it would also lose approximately 45,331 square metres from its traditionally claimed Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). However, President Solih emphasised that the most significant aspect of the decision was that the country now has a fully internationally recognised, dispute-free border.

“This ruling is not just a victory for the Maldives, but it is also a recognition of our commitment to following international rules and norms… We are committed to playing our part in the international community and upholding the law,” President Solih said at a press conference held following the ITLOS ruling.

The president reaffirmed the government’s commitment to safeguarding the newly recognised border and promoting the sustainable use of the country’s maritime resources in accordance with international law.

The ITLOS decision is final and binding and it marks the end of the long-standing maritime border dispute between the Maldives and Mauritius.