Thursday 30th Nov 2023
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UTF Agreement

Unconstitutional UTF Agreement Should be Null and Void: MP Saeed

The Uthuru Thila Falhu (UTF) agreement should be made null and void, said MP Mohamed Saeed (Maavah), Vice President of the opposition People's National Congress (PNC).
MP Saeed said this in relation to the Ministry of Defence's statement that the disclosure of any information pertaining to the agreement posed a threat to national security.
The Ministry of Defence had made the statement during a hearing at the Information Commissioner's Office, following a request for information lodged by Dhiyares; the sister-newspaper of The Maldives Journal.
Dhiyares had requested the following information from the Ministry of Defence:

Dhiyares had requested the following information from the Ministry of Defence:
1. The organisation with which the "technical" staff to be stationed in the Maldives; as per the agreement; are affiliated,
2. The duration permitted for the stay of Indian nationals; also the text of the agreement which specify these durations,
3. The number of "technical" staff stationed by India in the Maldives,
4. The repayment date, terms, and interest rate on the USD$ 50 million loan granted by India as per the agreement,
5. Details of any diplomatic immunity enjoyed by "technical" staff stationed by India,
6. Details of any costs of feeding and accommodating the "technical" staff stationed by India that may be borne by the Maldives
The Ministry had refused to provide any of the information requested. The Ministry representative said that the decision to keep the information confidential had been made by the Military Advisory Committee and that the Ministry of Defence's Information Officer had no power over that decision.

MP Saeed said that declassification of the UTF agreement posed an embarassment to the Solih administration and that it would prove that the agreement was unconstitutional.

He also pointed out that, as per the Constitution, such agreements should be submitted for approval at the Majlis; and he was certain that the Majlis, which enjoyed a supermajority for the ruling party, would not approve the agreement.