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New Maldives President vows 'peace and order'

New Maldives President Mohamed Waheed pledged today to restore "peace and order" as international pressure mounted on him to ease tensions in the island after his predecessor was ousted.

world Updated: Feb 14, 2012 13:09 IST

New Maldives President Mohamed Waheed pledged on Tuesday to restore "peace and order" as international pressure mounted on him to ease tensions in the island after his predecessor was ousted.

President Mohamed Waheed's office said he assured a visiting European delegation that he would form a "fully inclusive" cabinet, including members of former president's Mohamed Nasheed's Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

"The President said that his key priority was to restore peace and order in the country," his office said in a statement. "He would offer appropriate representation (in cabinet) to all political parties, including the MDP."

The EU delegation comprising Colombo-based ambassadors, including French ambassador Christine Robichon, will meet with Maldivian political leaders, including former President Nasheed to assess the political crisis.

Nasheed says he was ousted in a military-backed coup following weeks of opposition protests and has demanded fresh presidential elections. On Sunday, he rejected a US call for compromise and the formation of a unity government.

Diplomatic sources said the EU is keen to de-escalate tensions and peacefully resolve the conflict.

Waheed has already agreed to a Commonwealth probe into the dramatic fall of Nasheed, the Muslim nation's first democratically elected leader who came to power in 2008.

UN assistant secretary general Oscar Fernandez-Taranco wrapped up a visit to Maldives on Monday saying a peaceful solution is needed to end the crisis that sparked violence in the sun-drenched archipelago normally known for its upmarket tourism.

"I call upon all parties to ensure that no incitements to violence and acts of violence occur," Fernandez-Taranco told reporters.

"The Maldives cannot afford a descent into violence and protracted instability that would jeopardise the progress achieved by the country since 2008."

The nine-member Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), which deals with violations of the 54-nation bloc's political values, is also sending a mission to the country following an emergency tele-conference on Sunday.

The Commonwealth Secretariat said the mission will "ascertain the facts surrounding the transfer of power" in the Maldives, a chain of nearly 1,200 islands in the Indian Ocean that is a favourite luxury holiday destination.

First Published: Feb 14, 2012 13:06 IST