Maldives praises Rajapaksa's role in ending pol stand-off | world | Hindustan Times
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Maldives praises Rajapaksa's role in ending pol stand-off

world Updated: Jul 09, 2010 19:09 IST

PTI
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Maldives today praised the role of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa for helping end a stand-off between the government and the opposition-led parliament that had forced the Cabinet to resign en masse on June 29.

The ministers were reappointed as Rajapaksa undertook a one-day goodwill visit to Maldives on July 7 to help mediate in the political crisis.

"We thank Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and also the role played by diplomats from other countries in overcoming the stalemate. A way was found to commence negotiations on the political crisis," Maldivian Foreign Minister Ahmed Shaheed told reporters here.

A high-level Maldivian delegation comprising cabinet ministers and other top officials is in Sri Lanka to assure the large Maldives population of stability in the country, which is undergoing a difficult transition to democracy after decades of autocratic rule.

President Mohamed Nasheed 13-member cabinet quit last week saying the parliament was blocking all its efforts to govern the nation of 330,000 Sunni Muslims.

The cabinet ministers submitted their resignation late last month protesting against constant intervention by some Opposition members in Parliament that had made their functioning difficult.

During his visit, Rajapaksa met his counterpart Nasheed, Opposition leader Ahamed Thasmeen Ali, the Chief Justice, the Speaker of the Majilis and Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

Besides holding meetings with leaders of various political parties, Rajapaksa also met some of the leading members of the business community in the country.

"President Rajapaksa engaged in this initiative as a friend and a neighbour of the Maldives who offered his assistance, in accordance with the wishes of the Government and the Opposition of the Maldives in initiating a dialogue to resolve the current crisis," a joint statement by the Maldives and Sri Lankan government said.

The government and the opposition agreed, in the presence of President Rajapaksa, to constitute a committee of six members of the parliament to address the political problem in Maldives, which is 800 kilometres southwest of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean.

The panel would commence and carry forward a dialogue addressing such pressing issues as the appointment of Cabinet ministers and the smooth functioning of the legislative process.