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HindustanTimes Wed,17 Sep 2014

World

Stalemate continues in Male; Prez refuses to meet Indian team
PTI
Male, February 21, 2013
First Published: 22:07 IST(21/2/2013)
Last Updated: 22:09 IST(21/2/2013)

The deadlock over the situation arising out of Mohamed Nasheed remaining holed up in the Indian Mission for the ninth day on Thursday continued as President Mohamed Waheed refused to meet a high-level team from the Indian foreign office citing "busy schedule".

The team, which is headed by Harsh Vardhan Shringla, Joint Secretary in the ministry of external affairs and includes officials of legal background, had sought an appointment with Waheed yesterday even as they held a series of meetings with various stakeholders here for the second day.

"President Waheed will not receive the delegation. He had a very busy schedule and tomorrow he would be out of Male," the Maldivian President's Press Secretary Masood Imad told PTI.

Asked when the request was made, he said, "The request came in on Wednesday. It is difficult to push in the meeting on a day's notice".

Trying to allay fears that the India-Maldives ties have plunged, he said "the bilateral ties are strong as always".

Meanwhile, officials said there has not been any fresh development despite series of talks.

"The talks are still going on. At the moment, there are no signs of situation getting resolved," officials said.

Asked about the developments, Imad said, "It is a stalemate. Somebody has to give way. Indian government understands that the Prosecutor General is independent and we, the government, cannot interfere".

During their meetings with various stakeholders, Indian officials insisted that the current situation should not be allowed to affect bilateral ties, Imad said.

The team has met with foreign minister Abdul Samad Abdulla, Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim, lawyers, among others. They also held extensive talks with Nasheed and another potential Presidential candidate Abdullah Yamin of Progressive Party of Maldives, headed by former President Maumoon Gayoom.

The main aim of the team is to "assist" the Indian High Commission to end the stand-off situation, they said adding it will also assess the situation.

The team arrived on Wednesday amid hectic diplomatic parleys being held by the Indian High Commission with various political leaders across the spectrum.

Nasheed has been in the Indian Mission since February 13 to evade arrest after he failed to appear in court on charges of detaining Chief Criminal Judge Abdulla Mohamed while he was president, which his party considers politically motivated and designed to disqualify him from politics.

The Court had issued a fresh warrant against Nasheed but had to cancel the hearing yesterday after the police expressed its inability to produce him before it.


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