Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali today said that the party would decide on the issue of Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) operator GMR, India after President Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik's stand and assessment is received. Speaking to reporters after returning to Male from India, Thasmeen revealed that DRPâ™s response to President Waheedâ™s letter seeking the opinion of pro-government parties over the agreement with GMR, had been forwarded prior to his departure to India.
Thasmeen added that in the letter DRP had asked President Waheed to âœmove forward in a way that does not undermine investor confidence in the Maldives.â
âœConsider the close relations established with friendly nations. In my view the ways out of a valid contract is through dialogue or annul the contract under the pre-agreed conditions. In the letter I pointed out that the financial burden on the State must be determined beforehand,â Thasmeen explained.
On behalf of DRP, Thasmeen expressed belief that the government was in the best position to ascertain the financial repercussions and adverse effects on foreign investors and the relations between the two countries because of the contract with GMR. Hence, DRP would decide on the issue once the governmentâ™s stand and view is known, he said.
In response to the accusations by Interim Deputy President of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), Umar Naseer that the main obstacle to reclaiming INIA from GMR is DRP, Thasmeen stated that Umar was used to making such comments. He further added that the last time Umar resorted to such remarks was during the DRP Congress and has begun to use similar tactics for the upcoming PPM Congress.
When asked whether he believed that the agreement with GMR was in fact valid, Thasmeen said that he had not received the contract and the government was best suited to answer the particular question.
âœOn the other hand the government would have the capacity and resources for that sort of thing. Stateâ™s Attorney General should follow it. We have said before that if anything illegitimate has been included in the contract it must be probed and necessary action must be taken,â Thasmeen added.
âœHence the government would decide whether the agreement is valid. If the contract is indeed valid, then I donâ™t believe there is any other way than to adhere to it.â
When asked if DRP would back the government if it decides to take back INIA from GMR, Thasmeen without responding directly said that âœif the agreement is valid then the only way out of it is through the clauses and conditions entailed.â
âœWe need to know what the financial cost would be for the State and if such a burden is needed at this juncture. We can only comment after we have such information at hand. We are also a political party, so we need to discuss such things before a decision can be made, which of course would be shared with the media,â he explained.
Thasmeen further stressed that though the previous governmentâ™s agreement with GMR is found objectionable by the parties in the coalition government, âœrushing into decisions in a come what may approach was not prudent.â
He also assured that GMR was not discussed during his visit to India from August 1 â" 4.
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