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Nasheed not to seek asylum in Sri Lanka, says media reports

world Updated: Feb 13, 2012 00:25 IST

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Former Maldives president Mohammed Nasheed has said he will not seek asylum in Sri Lanka despite his family being here but instead continue to fight for democracy in his country, a Sri Lankan daily reported.

According to Haveeru Online, Nasheed told the Sunday Leader in an interview that the international community must act before it was too late.

"I will continue my fight in the Maldives. I will not give up. I cannot leave. My family is in Sri Lanka but I will not leave now," Nasheed said.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has also appealed to the new president to ensure the safety of Nasheed.

"President Rajapaksa and I are very close friends and he has been making inquires about my safety and I am very grateful for that," Nasheed said.

Three weeks of opposition-led protests were capped by a police revolt that led to the dramatic resignation by Nasheed Feb 7.

A day later, violence quickly spread to other parts of the country after Nasheed took to the streets along with thousands of his supporters.

The crisis deepened Thursday with the Criminal Court ordering Nasheed's arrest. Nasheed's wife Laila Ali has fled to Sri Lanka.

Nasheed has called for fresh elections and demanded President Mohamed Waheed Hassan to step down and hand power to the parliament speaker until elections can be held.

The next presidential poll, however, is due only in 2013.

US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake who visited to assess the situation in the country said the current state of the police, judiciary and election commission would not ensure that free and fair elections could be held.

Meanwhile, the Commonwealth panel that deals with serious violations of the group's political values will hold an emergency telephone conference on Sunday over the ousting of the Maldives president.