Sri Lankan opposition questions Nasheed representing Sri Lanka at COP27

Speaker Nasheed with Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe | Photo: Majlis

Colombo, Sri Lanka – The main opposition of Sri Lanka, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) has questioned the government at the Sri Lankan parliament for choosing to have former Maldivian President and Maldivian Parliament current Speaker Mohamed Nasheed as part of its delegation for 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 27).

Questioning the Government’s decision, Samagi Jana Balawegaya MP Nalin Bandara said while Sri Lanka is a sovereign nation, the Government however has chosen the Maldivian Speaker to represent the country at the COP27.

“Is there no MP from the Government suitable to represent the Government at the COP27? If the Government has no suitable person, then is there no other capable person? Mohamed Nasheed has been appointed resulting in Sri Lanka losing face before the world,” Bandara said. 

National People’s Power Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake slammed the President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s decision to attend the event at a time the country is grappling with a host of issues. 

“This is the country’s [Sri Lanka’s] situation. While the situation remains thus, the President [Ranil Wickremesinghe] is now attending a seminar along with the Maldivian speaker,” he said. 

The NPP Leader demanded the Government reveal to Parliament who bore Nasheed’s expenses.

“These leaders have no empathy for the people’s sufferings. They have no feeling or sensitivity about the people,” he accused. 

President Ranil Wickremesinghe appointed former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed as his International Climate Advisor in October this year. 

Nasheed has also come under fire in Maldives for representing Sri Lanka at COP27, the UN’s climate change summit which kicked off Sunday in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm El Sheikh and a file to impeach him from his parliamentary seat has been filed with the Maldivian Supreme Court by a local lawyer as well.

The former Maldives Attorney General Dr. Mohamed Munawwar questioned Nasheed’s representation of another country while being paid by the people of Maldives as speaker. Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom also expressed similar sentiments while former Assistant Commissioner of Police Abdullah Fairoosh in a tweet questioned whether Nasheed’s prioritization of another country while acting as Speaker of Parliament posed a conflict of interest.

Some local media reports have stated that the Speaker was not invited to take part in the Maldivian delegation to COP27 after which the former President and Speaker of Parliament decided to attend the COP27 with the Sri Lankan delegation. The Maldivian delegation is led by Vice President Faisal Naseem.

Parliament of Maldives had also released an announcement stating that President Nasheed left for Sham el-Sheikh, Egypt on Friday morning to attend the 27th “Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change” (COP 27) and that it is an official visit and he is attending the summit as a member of the Sri Lankan national delegation.

Speaker Nasheed has been a highly vocal climate advocate over the past years. He has also represented Maldives at all COP meetings held in the past 15 years and has participated in the discussions. President Nasheed is one of the most frequent attendee of the COP meetings to bring the world’s attention to Maldives vulnerability and the threat posed by climate change.