Maldives chaos: Commonwealth ministers to meet

Commonwealth secretary-general has called for a teleconference of Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group within 24 hours.

Male: Commonwealth officials have said they will hold talks on a stand-off in the Maldives between President Mohammed Waheed Hassan and his predecessor Mohamed Nasheed.

They said Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma has called for a teleconference of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, a group of nine foreign ministers from the 54-member bloc, within 24 hours.

The move comes after Nasheed alleged that he was forced to resign, a claim rejected by Waheed.

Nasheed has retracted his demand for his reinstatement as president but has called on for snap elections to resolve the stand-off.

A senior US diplomat backed the new authorities, saying the country was not ready for snap elections.

"The police, election commission, and judiciary are not sufficiently prepared to ensure free and fair elections," the BBC quoted US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake said.

He also urged all the parties to work together to resolve the political crisis in the country.

Waheed ruled out such a move pointing out that the election campaign had already started for scheduled polls for the end of 2013.

Meanwhile, UN Assistant Secretary General Oscar Fernandez-Taranco has been conducting talks with both sides to try to find a way out of the impasse.