US dismisses claims of seeking a permanent military base in Maldives
January 26, 2014 - 23 hours 9 minutes ago, 0 comments
Maldives will not pursue defence agreement with US: President Yameen
January 23, 2014
"SOFA agreement does not involve establishing a military base"
April 25, 2013
United States has dismissed claims of seeking a permanent military base in the Maldives. The statement follows reports that President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has decided Maldives will not pursue a State of Forces Agreement (SOFA) proposed by the US.
"The US has not and is not considering a permanent military presence in the Maldives. We continue to share a close bilateral defence relationship on areas of mutual interest," Pentagon spokesperson Lt Col Jeffery Pool told Press Trust India (PTI).
Speaking to reporters during a state visit to Sri Lanka last week, President Yameen said: “There have been discussions before, we are not going to pursue it.”
Minister at the President’s Office Mohamed Shareef later said the decision was made over fears that the agreement would upset India. “We have told them that we can’t do it because both India and Sri Lanka are also not happy with it,” Shareef said.
In June last year, a local online blog released scans of a document claiming to be a draft copy of a Status of Forces Agreement to be signed by Maldives and the United States. The agreement alleged to allow the U.S. to establish military bases in the Maldives.
Defence Minister Colonel (Rtd) Mohamed Nazim promptly refuted the claims.
“SOFA is an agreement that allows US military trainings to be conducted in different countries. It does not involve establishing a base. They have not proposed to establish a base, and the government has not decided on the SOFA agreement,” said the Defence Minister, in an interview to Sun in April last year.