Canada’s Global News has revealed the story behind the recent war of words between Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird and the Government of Maldives.
The news outlet reports that Baird’s “inappropriate remarks” – later complained about by Waheed in a letter to Canada’s Prime Minister – came as a result of the Maldives’ Acting Foreign Minister accusing Baird of bias during the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) meeting on September 27.
Citing sources familiar with the incident, Global News’s Laura Stone reported that Dr Mariyam Shakeela had brandished an ipad showing photographs of Baird posing with anti-government Maldivian protesters prior to entering the meeting.
Baird was reported to have responded to the accusation by acknowledging that he was indeed biased.
“Biased in favour in of democracy and a free and fair second round of elections. Biased against the delay and anti-democratic actions of President Waheed who only garnered five per cent in the first round of elections,” Global News’s sources recalled Baird remarking.
The spat subsequently escalated as Waheed wrote to the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper arguing that these comments had “put unnecessary pressure on an otherwise excellent relationship” between the Maldives and Canada
Baird’s office responded to Waheed’s complaint by pointing out “the irony of the Acting Foreign Minister of the Maldives representing that country at CMAG, when her President received five percent of the vote in the first round of the election. Perhaps that is where President Waheed took offence.”
“It might have also been when Minister Baird pointed out to CMAG members that the second round of elections were ‘suspended’ under mysterious circumstances and called on Maldivian officials to proceed with the second round of elections without delay,” said Baird’s Spokesperson Rick Roth, in a statement.