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Maldives crisis: US calls for Int'l mediation

The United States has urged Maldives to accept international mediation in resolving the ongoing political crisis after violent protests in Male left at least 15 persons injured earlier this week. Sutirtho Patranobis reports.

world Updated: Jul 18, 2010 01:14 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

The United States has urged Maldives to accept international mediation in resolving the ongoing political crisis after violent protests in Male left at least 15 persons injured earlier this week.

The statement from the US came even as the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday expressed concern about the rising political tensions in the country.

Reports said protestors were on the streets after the Maldives National Defence Force took Abdulla Yamin, opposition party People's Alliance chief, into custody on Thursday, claiming it was at his request and for his own protection.

Ban urged "the government and all parties to ensure the rule of law is maintained, and to safeguard the rights and protections enshrined in the constitution," a statement from his spokesman said.

The UN chief called for restraint and said political parties should "resolve their differences through dialogue. Political rivalries should not be allowed to jeopardize the significant gains the country has registered in democratic reform."

While not specifying which countries could mediate, the US statement said: "The United States is deeply concerned about rising tension resulting from the ongoing impasse between government and opposition parties in the Maldives. We call on all sides to refrain from violence and to come together to resolve disagreements through dialogue and compromise. We urge all parties to accept international offers of mediation."

US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives Patricia Butenis and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse were in Maldives in early July for separate political meetings to resolve the impasse.

Their intervention prompted Nasheed to reappoint his 13-member cabinet last Tuesday, a week after they resigned en masse.

Foreign minister Ahmed Shaheed said the nation of 1,200 islands was receptive to the idea of mediation.

"As a fledgling democracy, we remain open to international facilitation," Shaheed said by telephone from Male.