US committed to work with new Maldivian govt: Blake
Last Updated: Saturday, February 11, 2012, 22:30
Male: The US on Saturday backed President Mohammed Waheed Hassan's plan for a "national unity" government in Maldives and ignored his ousted predecessor Mohammad Nasheed’s demand for snap polls, giving a diplomatic boost to the new regime.

"Based on my talks, I am encouraged that a wide range of parties are engaged in talks to form a unity government and these talks are making progress," visiting US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake told reporters here.

Four days after 44-year-old Nasheed was "forced" to step down, Blake joined countries like India to help defuse the political crisis in the Maldives.

He met with both Waheed and the ousted president Nasheed today besides other political leaders and members of the civil society to get a firsthand assessment of the situation.

Blake, who has earlier been an American envoy to Sri Lanka with additional charge of Maldives, said US is committed to working with the new government.

Asked if he felt early polls could be held as demanded by Nasheed, Blake said: "Members of the civil society have told me that the country is not ready for early elections now because the police, election commission and judiciary are not sufficiently prepared to ensure free and fair elections".

Backing Waheed's plan for a "national unity" government, Blake said US hopes the broadest coalition possible can be formed that will have a majority in Parliament.

"This coalition then should work with all parties to reform and improve the capacity of the judiciary, the police and the EC to ensure that elections can be held in an orderly and peaceful manner," he underlined.

He, however, said there are some questions on transfer of power that took place on February 7 and that he believes some sort of independent Maldivian mechanism should be formed to investigate them.

Blake also hoped that the Nasheed's party will work productively with the new parties.

"I can tell you that a number of good ideas are being explored to try and find ways to bring MDP into it this national unity government," the US Assistant Secretary of State said.

He also asked all parties and the government to exercise restraint and to engage in peaceful dialogue to resolve tensions and respecting the constitution.

The US diplomat raised concerns about human rights violations and asked the current regime to take steps that human rights are adhered to.

Nasheed held talks with Blake at a hotel near the Indian High Commission here as hundreds of his supporters, including women, stood outside in a show of solidarity.

The meeting between the two at the Traders Hotel, where Blake is staying, lasted for half-an-hour.

The US diplomat's meetings came a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's special envoy M Ganapathi conveyed India's willingness to help end the political crisis in the Indian Ocean atoll.


First Published: Saturday, February 11, 2012, 15:50

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