Forward movement in Maldives crisis: India

Male/New Delhi, Feb 22: India Friday said there has been “some forward movement” in resolving the crisis after former president Mohamed Nasheed took refuge at the Indian High Commission in Male.

Maldives President Mohamed Waheed has said Nasheed staying at the Indian mission will not undermine ties with New Delhi.

In an interview Thursday with prominent Maldives daily Haveeru, Waheed also said that the Indian High Commission had no choice but to let Nasheed stay at the chancery as it must extend courtesies to a former head of state.

A four-member Indian delegation led by Harsh Vardhan Shringla, joint secretary, Indian external affairs ministry, which arrived in Male Wednesday, has held talks with several senior government representatives, leaders of all major political parties and heads of independent institutions.

The interactions “have provided some forward movement and the team continues to work further on the available inputs so that the matter could be resolved to satisfaction”, said a statement from the Indian mission.

“The delegation has received cooperation from the government of Maldives and all other stakeholders, who have agreed to work in the spirit of understanding and the close cooperation that exists between the two countries,” it said.

The team had arrived here Feb 20 to engage with the Maldives government and other stakeholders on the stay of Nasheed at the High Commission premises since Feb 13.

President Waheed, who took over after Nasheed resigned last year, said that the former president choosing to take refuge at the Indian High Commission was an issue between him and the judiciary, and has nothing to do with the government.

He told Haveeru that the decision to leave or stay in the High Commission was up to Nasheed himself. Moreover, the Indian High Commission will decide how long the ex-president can stay there, he added.

Waheed also insisted that Nasheed’s stay at the High Commission will not undermine the relations between Indian and Maldives, Haveeru quoted him as saying.

He said the Indian High Commission “had no choice but to let Nasheed stay” at the chancery as it must extend courtesies to a former head of state.

Nasheed has been at the High Commission since Feb 13 when an arrest warrant was issued after he failed to attend court for what he called a politically-motivated trial aimed at disqualifying him from the presidential election slated for Sep 7.

On Wednesday, the Hulhumale Magistrate Court postponed the hearing after police said they were unable to arrest Nasheed and bring him before the court.

A section of the Maldivian leadership has accused India of interfering in Male’s internal affairs. New Delhi has denied this.

IANS