Opposition in Maldives appeals to Antonio Guterres to call for all-party talks to resolve political turmoil

Colombo: The alliance of Opposition parties in the Maldives has appealed to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to mediate dialogue between them and the government, to ensure credibility in resolving the Indian Ocean nation's political turmoil.

In a letter to UN chief, the Joint Opposition, led by former president Mohamed Nasheed's Maldivian Democratic Party, expressed concern that Abdulla Yameen government's call for all-party talks is an attempt to ease international condemnation over its recent actions and a time-buying tactic.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The Opposition's request follows the UN Secretary-General's statement early this month reiterating the United Nations’ offer to facilitate all-party dialogue in finding a solution to the Indian Ocean nation's political stalemate.
The Opposition said that for meaningful talks to take place, the government must "halt its full-scale assault on democracy, the rule of law, and the Constitution."

The MDP in a statement said that only "internationally mediated" talks are acceptable. To make the talks meaningful the opposition calls for the full implementation the Supreme Court ruling and the release of imprisoned opposition leaders and judges.

They also urge to withdraw the military from Parliament, and allow the opening and full functioning of the Parliament. The Maldives, which has seen several political crises since the ouster of its first democratically-elected president Mohamed Nasheed in 2012, plunged into chaos recently when the Supreme Court there ordered the release of nine imprisoned opposition politicians, maintaining that their trials were "politically motivated and flawed".

The government on 5 February refused to comply with the court's order and declared a 15-day state of emergency and within hours, the security forces had stormed the court premises and arrested two judges, including the chief justice. On 6 February, Maldives' Supreme court revoked the order to release nine high-profile political prisoners.

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Updated Date: Feb 16, 2018 16:41:51 IST