US committed to work with new Maldivian govt: Blake

The US backed Prez Mohammed Waheed Hassan`s plan for a "national unity" government in Maldives and ignored Mohammad Nasheed’s demand for snap polls.

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.