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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 970

United States and UN concerned over developments in the Maldives

Daya Gamage - US National Correspondent Asian Tribune
Washington, 16 February, (Asiantribune.com):

The United States on Thursday, 14 February urged all parties in this Indian Ocean archipelago to respects Maldivian democratic institutions, the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms.

In a special statement on behalf of the American administration State department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said "The United States is concerned about ongoing events in Male. We urge all sides to remain calm, reject the use of violence, and avoid rhetoric that could increase tensions. Former President Nasheed must be accorded due process under the law regarding his pending court cases".

She further stated: "We urge that the Presidential elections scheduled for September 7, 2013 be free, fair, credible, transparent and inclusive. The integrity of and public confidence in the Maldivian electoral process must be maintained. Accordingly, we note that all parties participating in these elections should be able to put forward the candidate of their choice. We continue to urge all parties to chart a way forward that respects Maldivian democratic institutions, the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms".

Meanwhile the Secretary General of the United Nations is monitoring with concern the developments in the Maldives since Wednesday 13 February, when former President Mohamed Nasheed sought refuge in the Indian High Commission in the capital Malé.

The Secretary-General urged all political actors to exercise restraint, renew their commitment to the Constitution and work toward creating conducive conditions for fair, peaceful and inclusive elections. All parties contesting the 7 September presidential elections should be able to field the candidates of their choice in accordance with the rule of law and the Constitution.

India's External Affairs Ministry on Wednesday expressed concern over instability and called on the government of the Maldives "to adhere strictly to democratic principles and the rule of law".

Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said he had a "useful conversation" with his counterpart in the Maldives about what he described as a "situation of unusual nature", though he offered no suggestion the deadlock had been resolved.

Former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed will stay in the Indian embassy in Male until a caretaker government is formed, his party said on Thursday, despite a government assurance he would not be arrested if left, Reuters reported today.

Nasheed, the Maldives' first democratically elected leader, who left office last year in contested circumstances, entered the Indian High Commission in the capital on Wednesday as police tried to arrest him in connection with a court case.

His supporters, who say Nasheed was ousted last February in a coup, clashed with police outside the mission, the latest such unrest in the Indian Ocean archipelago which is best known as a luxury holiday destination.

A court had ordered Nasheed's arrest after he missed a February 10 court appearance in a case relating to accusations that he illegally detained a judge during the last days of his rule.

But a government spokesman said on Thursday Nasheed no longer faced arrest.

"Nasheed's arrest warrant has ceased and he won't be arrested," Imad Masood, spokesman for President Mohamed Waheed Hussain Manik, told Reuters.

"The court will now announce a fresh date for the hearing and Nasheed can appear without being arrested," Masood said.

However, Nasheed's Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) said he would remain in the embassy because of the danger he faced.

"Until we find a transitional arrangement, he will be there," MDP spokesman Hamid Abdul Gafoor said.

- Asian Tribune -

Former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed
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