Maldives – USA President Obama Signs Determination so that Maldives can Receive Defence Articles and Services

September 20th, 2010

Maldives to Purchase Defence Articles and Services from the United States of America

The United States embassy in Sri Lanka reports that President Barack Obama has signed a determination entitling the Maldives to receive US defence articles and services.

US Embassy Issues Press Release about Maldives Potential Purchase

The US Embassy issued a press released stating that the US goverment will provide defence articles and services to the Maldives on a case-by-case basis if applications are in line with the guidelines and criteria.

“The Republic of Maldives has not sought to purchase defence articles or defence services from the United States,” the statement reads.

Quote from Maldives Defence Minister Ameen Faisal

Speaking to Minivan News today, Defence Minister Ameen Faisal said the Maldives government had not entered into any discussions with the US about the purchase of arms and the Maldives National Defence Forces (MNDF) had received continuous training by the US even before the current government came to power.

As part of Asia, the Maldives was under the threat of terrorism, Defence Minister Ameen Faisal said. “We have to be prepared.”

Quote from Robert Blake, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia

Speaking after the signing of the determination, Robert Blake, assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, said the Maldives was a transit zone for terrorists, according to zeenews.com, an Indian news portal.

Blake, previously the US ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, said the determination would put in place a legal framework to provide the Indian Ocean island nation with “modest military assistance” if necessary.

As a moderate Muslim nation, the US was interested in helping the Maldives address the challenge of terrorism, Robert Blake added.

“There is one particular challenge in maintaining the ability to monitor what is going on in their seas,” Robert Blake said. “They also sit astride some of the major sea lanes in the world so it is very very important that they have the ability to monitor activity.”

Indian Goverment’s Pledge of Military Assistance to the Maldives

Last month, the Indian government pledged military assistance to the Maldives, including the establishment of a comprehensive maritime surveillance plan, a regional base in the north of the country and a maritime training school.

Refitting of Maldives’ Huravee Warship

The Huravee warship will also be refitted for patrolling purposes.

Statement from the Maldives National Defence Force

A press release from the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) at the time said the partnership would tackle the scourge of terrorism, drug trafficking and piracy.

Faisal said today he believed the US administration’s determination was based on the change of government last year, which saw President Mohamed Nasheed oust 30-year ruler Maumoon Abdul Gayoom in the country’s first-ever democratic elections.

‘They think we are mature enough to purchase weapons from them now,” said Faisal. “That’s the difference between a dictatorship and a democracy.”

Source: Minivan News

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