India urges Maldives parties to stick to roadmap


New Delhi : With two key Maldivian political parties withdrawing from all-party talks for early elections, India Friday pressed for discussions to find “a peaceful and viable solution” under a deal brokered by New Delhi only two days ago.

Support TwoCircles

Maldives’ second largest party, Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), and the third largest Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) of former ruler Maummon Abdul Gayoom Friday withdrew from the talks.

They were protesting against the disruption of parliament a day earlier by legislators of ousted president Mohamed Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

The withdrawal has dealt a blow to the political reconciliation process in the Maldives. The development comes two days after Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai returned from Male after brokering a deal.

The deal envisaged a broad consensus for early elections in “quick time frame” and a growing recognition of India’s role as a facilitator in resolving the political crisis in the Indian Ocean nation.

India has urged all parties to maintain calm and exercise restraint, Syed Akbaruddin, the external affairs ministry’s spokesperson, told reporters in response to the latest twist in the political process in the Maldives.

The spokesperson said India “encouraged them to exercise their responsibilities to the Maldivian people, and to continue necessary discussions … to find a peaceful and viable solution as agreed under the roadmap.”

However, the spokesperson reiterated India’s position that this was “an internal matter of the Maldives, to be resolved by Maldivians in a peaceful and democratic manner”.

India, he said, stood ready to assist the government and people of Maldives.

The People’s Majlis (parliament) saw chaos Thursday as MDP legislators shouted and prevented President Mohamed Waheed from delivering the opening address and blocked Speaker Abdulla Shahid from entering the chamber.

Nasheed, the first democratically elected president, had to step down amid questionable circumastances Feb 7 amid a police revolt and protests that plunged the atoll nation in turmoil.