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US urges Maldives’ Abdulla Yameen to accept election results

The US has offered the newly elected government of the Maldives deeper engagement to help it along the path of democracy, security and prosperity in the context of its evolving Indo-Pacific strategy and rebalance.

world Updated: Oct 12, 2018 00:09 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen speaks as he gives a statement at President office in Male, Maldives. (REUTERS)

The US has offered the newly elected government of the Maldives deeper engagement to help it along the path of democracy, security and prosperity in the context of its evolving Indo-Pacific strategy and rebalance.

“The United States and our partners view with great concern any attempts to undermine the democratic process,” a US state department spokesperson said on Wednesday after two days of meetings Alice Wells, the top diplomat for South and Central Asia, had with President-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

“It is critical that the will of the Maldivian people be respected and upheld,” the spokesperson added, noting the threat of “appropriate measures” the US had held out ahead of the September elections.

In a direct message to the outgoing President Abdulla Yameen that the US planned to stay engaged, Wells told local network Raajje TV, “This was a decisive victory and President Yameen did the right thing when he acknowledged his loss and he said he would be a responsible opposition candidate.” There is no doubt who won the election, the diplomat added, and the US expects “President Yameen will accept the voice of his citizens.”

President Solih’s Maldivian Democratic Party won the elections, held amid widespread fears Yameen would rig it to remain in power.

Solih is set to take oath in November. But Yameen’s party filed a police complaint on Wednesday challenging the election result that they had initially accepted.

Wells, who holds the rank of deputy principal assistant secretary of state, became this week the first senior member of the Trump administration to visit Maldives, showing growing US interest in a country with which it has had friendly relations for decades but truncated diplomatic ties.

The US doesn’t have an embassy or consulate in Maldives, which does not have one in the US as well.

The US embassy in Sri Lanka does double duty covering Maldives. And the Maldivian permanent mission to the UN in New York has double accreditation to act as embassy to the US.

First Published: Oct 12, 2018 00:03 IST