HC Deb 10 December 1963 vol 686 cc66-7W
Mr. Bottomley

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what part the British Government is playing in the internal dispute between the government of the Maldive Islands and the people of Addu Atoll.

Mr. Tilney

In letters exchanged between the British and Maldivian Governments in February, 1960, and published in a White Paper (Cmnd. 948), the British Government re-affirmed their desire and concern to promote an early reconciliation between the Maldivian Government and the inhabitants of Addu Atoll, whose inhabitants had been in revolt since January, 1959. The British Government assured the Maldivian Government that they recognised no other government within the Maldive Islands and gave the further assurance that they would do all they could to bring about conditions which would enable the authority of the Maldivian Government to be restored peacefully in Addu Atoll.

The British Government have for a long time been trying to create suitable conditions for restoration of the authority of the Maldivian Government in Addu Atoll. When my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State visited Male in September he and the Maldivian Prime Minister agreed that the time was now ripe to do this. My right hon. Friend undertook that the British Government would take such steps as might be necessary to re-establish that authority by the end of this year. To facilitate the smooth implementation of this decision the Maldivian Government agreed to grant an unqualified pardon and indemnity to all the inhabitants of Addu Atoll in respect of acts connected with the revolt in the Atoll.

The British Government have sucessfully fulfilled the undertaking my right hon. Friend gave Mr. Nasir in September. The Maldivian Government's authority is now acknowledged throughout Addu and the Adduans have asked the Maldivian Government to send officials to exercise it. But they have not yet done so.

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