Nasheed leaves Indian mission, says Presidential elections must be `free, fair, inclusive`

Last Updated: Saturday, February 23, 2013 - 21:47

Male/New Delhi: Former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed left the Indian High Commission in Male Saturday, 11 days after he sought refuge following an arrest warrant against him in a court case.

Nasheed, who left the Indian High Commission at 4.15 p.m. Indian time, thanked the staff of the Indian High Commission, including High Commissioner DM Mulay, for "the kindness and hospitality afforded to me during my stay".

He thanked the international community for supporting the cause of democracy in the Maldives and that the presidential elections must be free, fair and inclusive of all candidates.

A large number of his supporters gathered outside the Indian chancery to greet Nasheed as he left the premises.

"It is hoped that with the development today former President Nasheed will again resume his social and political life," the Indian external affairs ministry said.

"Former president of Maldives Nasheed had entered India`s Mission in Male on Feb 13 on his own volition and decided to leave on his own," the ministry added.

Speaking to the press at the Dharubaaruge convention centre, Nasheed expressed hope that he will be able to continue with his political activities and social life.

"I do not believe that delaying my trial until after elections would infringe on the rights of any citizen," said Nasheed, referring to the court case against him on charges of illegally detaining Chief Criminal Court Judge Abdulla Mohamed during his final days in office.

"I`ve come out with the understanding that I will be able to conduct peaceful political activity and my social life," he said.

"I believe that even on issues that we disagree on, we can reach a compromise with the Maldivian government" he told the press.

Nasheed also said that he was hopeful that all candidates for the Sep 7 presidential elections would be free to contest the polls.

A four-member Indian delegation led by Harsh Vardhan Shringla, joint secretary of the Indian external affairs ministry, had landed in Male Wednesday to hold talks with several senior government representatives, leaders of all major political parties and heads of independent institutions.

In a statement Saturday, the external affairs ministry said that India has been working closely with the government and other relevant stakeholders in the Maldives to strengthen the country`s democratic framework.

"India has maintained broad based contacts with all political parties and democratic institutions in Maldives without interfering in its internal affairs."

The statement said 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.

IANS



First Published: Saturday, February 23, 2013 - 19:27

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