'Details of UTF agreement must be disclosed to the public'

Main-ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)'s Chairperson and member of the Parliament's Security Services Committee (241 Committee) has said the government must disclose to the public, information on the UTF agreement between Maldives National Defense Force and India.

In a tweet posted on Saturday, Latheef, who is also the West Henveiru MP, said the government must assure the public that it has nothing to hide regarding the UTF agreement and share information on the assistance received from the Indian government.

However, Latheef's call was met with criticism from a fellow MDP parliamentarian, Dhuvaafaru MP Ismail Ahmed. A close aide of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, MP Ismail called out Latheef, stating that speaking about the UTF agreement on social media while being a member of the 241 committees is highly unprofessional.

While Latheef has called to provide information to the public, Defense Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi recently disclosed the original UTF agreement to the 241 committees. MNDF presented a detailed presentation on the contents of the agreement to the committee on October 24.

An agreement was signed to develop a dockyard and port in Uthuru Thilafalhu with Indian assistance last February. Political parties have expressed concern, stating that the deal allows foreign military personnel to remain in the Maldives for long periods. Although a document said to be a draft copy of the UTF agreement was leaked on social media a while back, the government has said the document is not genuine. Since then, the original document has been viewed by the 241 committee, after which the committee's chair said it contained no information that would threaten national security.