Khurshid speaks to Maldivian counterpart on Nasheed

Last Updated: Thu, Feb 14, 2013 16:10 hrs

New Delhi, Feb 14 (IANS) External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid Thursday spoke to his Maldivian counterpart on the emerging political crisis in the atoll nation after former president Mohamed Nasheed took "refuge" at the Indian High Commission in Male.

"I have been in touch, I have had a long conversation with the foreign minister of Maldives. We have discussed in detail the situation as it stands today," Khurshid told reporters.

"Maybe I will speak to him again later in the day. I hope that we can come to a resolution of the present situation, which is to the satisfaction of everybody. But it is still an ongoing process," he said about his 40-minute talk with Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdul Samad Abdullah.

The 45-year-old Nasheed on Wednesday took refuge in the Indian High Commission in Male to evade arrest warrant issued by a local court in a case concerning the detention of Chief Judge of the Criminal Court during his presidency in January last year.

On Maldivies taking objection to India's stand, Khurshid said: "Unfortunately reports go out which are unauthenticated and which are not accurate reports of how both sides are approaching a situation, which is obviously a situation of an unusual nature."

"As far as Maldives is concerned, they are friends of India and valuable friends of India. And I do not think that any inaccurate reports about how we deal with each other's issues should be allowed to come in the way of this friendship," he added.

Khurshid said that he had "a good conversation" with the Maldivian foreign minister.

"We have understood on both sides the totality of the circumstances," he added.

Maldives has denied India's claim that it held discussions with Indian officials regarding Nasheed, saying it cannot interfere with the independence of the judiciary.

"Maldives wishes to confirm that neither the high commission of India in Male, nor any other authority of India has had had discussion with the government of Maldives concerning former president of Maldives Mohamed Nasheed's reported request for 'refuge'," its foreign ministry said in a statement issued earlier in the day.

It also said that the Indian High Commission confirmed Nasheed's presence at the commission after several inquiries.

The statement termed as "unfortunate" what it called the "public comment" by India on events instead of opting for bilateral discussions between the two governments.

"It is further unfortunate that the government of India has decided to comment on the types of candidates that could contest the upcoming presidential elections in the Maldives scheduled for September 2013," it said.

On Wednesday, India had urged the Maldivian government and political parties "to adhere strictly to democratic principles and the rule of law, thereby paving the way for free, fair, credible and inclusive elections".

Nasheed, the first democratically elected president of the Maldives, claimed he was forced to quit at gunpoint last year and urged the international community, particularly India, to help restore "democracy" in his country.

Vice President Mohammed Waheed Hassan succeeded Nasheed after the latter resigned Feb 7 last year followed by what he alleged was a coup.

More from Sify: