MDP Welcomes Postponement of Saudi King’s Maldives Visit following Growing Public Outrage and Crackdown on Critics

Friday 17 March, MALE: The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) welcomes the postponement of Saudi King Salman’s visit to the Maldives.

With growing public outrage and strong opposition to President Yameen’s attempts to sell-off Faafu atoll to the Saudi Royal Family, the MDP feels that the time is not right for the royal visit, especially after an audio recording was leaked on Thursday night in which ruling party parliamentary group leader Ahmed Nihan MP discusses hitherto secret details of the Faafu project. According to Nihan, President Yameen’s intention is to sell Faafu islands and lagoons to Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, who would own the islands in perpetuity.

In the recording, Nihan claims that Saudi Arabia was secretly behind President Yameen’s decision to change the constitution in 2015 in order to allow foreigners to own land in the Maldives. Nihan also brags about that fact that the Maldivian public would be kept completely in the dark over the deal.

The MDP also calls on the Government of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi Royal Family to completely pull out of the Faafu atoll project.

The MDP views the Faafu project as a fundamental threat to Maldivian sovereignty and independence.

The MDP further believes the project, which has been shrouded in secrecy, could be another attempt by President Yameen to engage in money laundering and corruption and further reiterates its previous statements that the party considers contracts on Faafu deal void abinitio and such contracts would be reversed. The MDP notes that public notice has been amply and indisputably given of the citizens’ objection to such a sale.

The Maldives government announced on Friday that King Salman’s visit to the Maldives has been postponed, ostensibly because of a recent Swine Flu outbreak in Male’. King Salman had been due to arrive in the Maldives on Saturday.