Sunday, February 24, 2013

#Nasheed leaves Indian mission in Male after 10 days#

BySachin Parashar, TNN | Feb 24, 2013, 02.04 AM IST

NEW DELHI: The standoff in the Maldives has ended for now — exactly 10 days after former President Mohammed Nasheed had sneaked into the Indian High Commission in Male to evade arrest — as he walked out of the Indian mission in the archipelago "on his own''. Nasheed's decision to leave the High Commission at around 4.15 pm followed a mix of pressure and persuasion on the Waheed government and Nasheed himself during a series of meetings between an Indian delegation, led by MEA joint secretary Harsh Shringla, and the Male dispensation in the past few days.

That India is keen to see Nasheed contest elections, slated for in September, was evident when Indian government expressed hope that the ex-president would be allowed to resume his political life. Sources here confirmed to TOI that an Indian election commission team will soon visit Maldives to provide technical assistance to that country in the run up to polls.

``It will be recalled that the former President had entered the Indian Mission in Male on 13 February 2013 on his own volition and had similarly decided to leave on his own. It is hoped that with this development the former President will again resume his social and political life,'' said ministry of external affairs (MEA) spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin as he thanked all Maldivian stakeholders who had participated in the dialogue with Indian officials.

It is learnt that as part of the negotiations to facilitate Nasheed's freedom, the two sides also decided to strengthen the ``multi-faceted relations'' and, as a part of the enhanced engagement, Maldives' chief justice is also likely to visit India soon. Foreign minister Salman Khurshid conveyed to his Maldivian counterpart Abdul Samad Abdulla that India has age-old ties of friendship and cooperation with Male. ``India would be happy to support all efforts to create favourable conditions for free, fair, credible and inclusive Presidential elections in September, 2013, that can contribute to durable peace, stability and prosperity in Maldives and the region,'' added Akbaruddin.

Emerging from his refuge at the Indian mission, Nasheed said, "I am hopeful I will be able to continue political activities and social life"

"I believe that even on issues that we disagree on, we can reach a compromise with the Maldivian government," he told a press conference. He said, following the understanding, he was hopeful that all candidates would be free to contest the presidential elections. Thanking the Indian government, Nasheed said, "I also thank the staff of the Indian High Commission in Male', including His Excellency D M Mulay, for the kindness and hospitality afforded to me during my stay''.

Nasheed was facing arrest for not appearing before a court looking into his alleged role in the detention of Maldives' chief criminal judge when he was president. The trial against him was postponed on Thursday raising hopes of a settlement that would allow him to walk out of the high commission without fearing arrest. While there have been some issues arising out of India's alleged intention to interfere in internal affairs of Maldives, Indian government maintains that it is only working closely with the dispensation in Male and other relevant stakeholders in the Maldives to strengthen the democratic framework of the country.

"India has maintained broad based contacts with all political parties and democratic institutions in Maldives without interfering in its internal affairs. The Government of India urges all parties to maintain peace and calm and hopes to continue its positive engagement in the spirit of the close and friendly relations between the two countries,'' said the MEA in a statement.

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