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HindustanTimes Sat,27 Dec 2014

India to resolve 'unusual' situation in Maldives

PTI  New Delhi/Male, February 14, 2013
First Published: 21:28 IST(14/2/2013) | Last Updated: 21:31 IST(14/2/2013)

India on Thursday sought to resolve the "unusual situation" arising from ex-Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed taking refuge in the Indian High Commission in Male, with external affairs minister Salman Khurshid having a "good, very useful and long" conversation with his Maldivian counterpart.

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After talking for 40 minutes on phone with Abdul Samad Abdullah, Khurshid voiced the hope that a solution "to the satisfaction of everybody" would be found. But it was still an on-going process, he said.

Meanwhile, 45-year-old Nasheed continued to remain holed up in the Indian Mission for the second day in a row.

He has taken refuge in the Indian High Commission to evade arrest warrant issued by a local court in a case concerning the detention of Chief Judge of the Criminal Court during his Presidency in January last year.

"I have had a long conversation.... We have discussed in detail the situation as it stands today. We are in the process, we are continuing our conversation.

"May be I would speak to him again later in the day. We are working in the background. I hope we can come to a resolution of the present situation which is to the satisfaction of everybody. But it is still an ongoing process," Khurshid said.

The minister said both sides have understood the "totality of the circumstances".

Replying to a query on Maldives foreign ministry's strongly worded statement accusing India of undermining its democratic institutions, Khurshid said: "We went through everything. Unfortunately, reports go out which are unauthenticated and which are not accurate reports of how both sides are approaching a situation, which is obviously a situation of an unusual nature".

Terming Maldives as a "valuable friend" of India, Khurshid said "inaccurate reports" should not be allowed to come in the way of this "friendship".

"There is a prevailing situation on which we had, as I said to you, a good conversation, a very useful conversation," he said. Noting that Nasheed was a candidate for the Presidential elections to be held in September, India had yesterday (on Wednesday) said in a statement that it is necessary that the Presidential nominees of recognised political parties be free to participate in the polls without any hindrance.

Replying to it, Maldives in a late night statement had said, "It was unfortunate that the Government of India has decided to publicly comment on today's events instead of opting for bilateral discussions between the two Governments".

Meanwhile in Male, Nasheed demanded that President Mohammed Waheed must quit and an interim, caretaker government be set up to ensure free and fair elections.

"The events of the past year, the mass arrests, the police brutality, the politically motivated trials, demonstrate that Dr Waheed cannot be trusted to hold a free and fair election," Nasheed said in a statement posted on the web site of his Maldivian Democratic Party.

"Waheed should do the right thing and resign from office. An interim, caretaker government should be established that can lead the Maldives to genuinely free and fair elections, in which all candidates are freely able to compete," he said.

Nasheed labelled his ongoing trial "a politically motivated sham" and said the Hulhumale Magistrates Court, established to hear his case, was illegal and created "with the sole purpose of disqualifying me from standing in the presidential elections".


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