UN General-Secretary Antonio Guterres urges Maldives govt to lift Parliament blockade, encourages dialogue on issue

United Nations: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged the government in the Maldives to lift a blockade of parliament and refrain from all acts that result in the harassment and intimidation of lawmakers, civil society and the media.

The UN chief's remarks came amid the ongoing political turmoil in the Maldives where soldiers have barred the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) from entering the parliament complex.

 UN General-Secretary Antonio Guterres urges Maldives govt to lift Parliament blockade, encourages dialogue on issue

File image of Antonio Guterres. AP

Lawmakers who tried to enter the compound were hit with pepper spray and forcibly evicted.

Guterres voiced concern over "gradual erosion of basic democratic norms and principles" in the country and has urged a dialogue.

He called on the government in Maldives "to uphold the constitutionally guaranteed rights of speech and assembly".

According to a statement issued by a UN spokesman, the Secretary-General urged the government to refrain from all acts that result in the harassment and intimidation of Members of Parliament, political parties, civil society and the media.

The UN Chief "encourages effective dialogue and consultations on political issues", the statement said.

India has reacted cautiously to the developments in its neighbouring country, saying it wishes to see a stable and peaceful Maldives in which aspirations of the people are fulfilled.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay also said India remained committed to provide unstinted support for stability, development and democracy in Maldives.

"Maldives is very important neighbour of ours. It is part of SAARC...We attach the highest importance to our relations with Maldives..India wishes to see a stable, prosperous and peaceful Maldives in which aspirations of people of Maldives are fulfilled,” Baglay said in New Delhi.

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Updated Date: Jul 28, 2017 16:47:50 IST