Maldives' victory the result of adherence to int'l laws and principles: Foreign Minister

The Maldives' victory in the maritime dispute between the Maldives and Mauritius was due to full adherence to international laws and principles, Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid has said.

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) Friday ruled in favor of the Maldives in the maritime territorial dispute between Maldives and Mauritius.

"Our faith in the international system has resulted in bringing certainty to the outer limits of the Exclusive Economic Zone," he said in a tweet.

The maritime dispute between Mauritius and the Maldives came after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in September 2019 declared the Chagos Archipelago south of the Maldives a sovereign territory of Mauritius. The ICJ ruling came after Mauritius submitted for an ICJ recommendation on whether Chagos was under its jurisdiction.

Following the ICJ ruling, Mauritius requested the ITLOS to lay the equidistance measurements to measure both countries' outer limits from Blenheim Reef. The disputed overlapping area between the Maldives and Mauritius was 95,000 square kilometers. The Maldives requested not to consider the reef in calculating the equidistance as it was not part of Mauritius' coastline.

In its ruling on Friday, ITLOS said the overlapping area must be divided using the equidistance method and that the no point of the Blenheim reef may not be used to draw the equidistance line. This accords 47232 sq kilometers, the larger portion of the overlapping area, to the Maldives and 45,331 sq kilometers of the disputed area to Mauritius. Therefore, the Maldives has secured an additional area of about 4,600 sq kilometers from the disputed territory of the two countries.