Government dismisses US secretary of state’s comments as ‘personal views’

The government has dismissed US Secretary of State John Kerry’s comments over threats to democracy in the Maldives as his personal views.

Speaking to Haveeru, acting foreign minister Mohamed ‘Mundhu’ Hussain Shareef said the US government had not officially shared the concerns with the government and insisted Kerry’s remarks were his own opinion.

“We have strong relations with America,” he was quoted as saying by Haveeru.

Kerry’s comments came after clashes erupted between protesters and police following a historic antigovernment protest on Friday. Nearly 200 protesters were arrested.

“We’ve seen even now how regrettably there are troubling signs that democracy is under threat in the Maldives where the former president Nasheed has been imprisoned without due process,” Kerry told the press in Sri Lanka on Saturday.

“This is an injustice that needs to be addressed soon.”

Shareef was unavailable for comment today.

The president’s office spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz also declined to comment.

Nasheed is serving a 13 year jail term on terrorism charges. The trial was widely criticised by foreign governments, international bodies and human rights groups.

Kerry had met with Nasheed’s wife, Laila Ali in Washington before his visit to Sri Lanka.

Nasheed’s international lawyers have asked the UN working group on arbitrary detention to rule the opposition leader’s arrest arbitrary and illegal.

Nasheed’s arrest on february 22 sparked daily protests across the country. The Jumhooree Party and the Adhaalath Party split from the ruling coalition and allied with Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party over increased authoritarian tactics by the government.

Approximately 20,000 protesters took to the streets on Friday against the government’s ‘tyranny.’ The march is the largest antigovernment action in the past decade. Clashes erupted when protesters attempted to enter the city’s main Republic square at dusk.

Police used stun grenades, thunder flashes, tear gas and pepper spray to disperse the crowds and confrontations continued into the early hours. Scores were injured, 193 people arrested and two policemen severely beaten by protesters.

Later that night, police arrested Adhaalath Party president Sheikh Imran Abdulla, deputy leader of JP Ameen Ibrahim and MDP chairperson Ali Waheed.

The police have said the opposition must give prior notice before holding a protest.

Meanwhile the UN human rights office on Friday said Nasheed’s trial was “vastly unfair, arbitrary and disproportionate.”

Briefing the press in Geneva, Mona Rishmawi, who heads the office on rule of law, equality and non-discrimination, said Nasheed’s 19-day trial was politically motivated and was reached by judges wielding “incredible discretionary powers.”

The European parliament has also passed a resolution urging the government to release Nasheed immediately.

However, the government remains defiant, with the foreign minister saying President Abdulla Yameen’s government will not comply with demands from foreign governments to “meddle” in judicial affairs and release a convict.

In an interview with state broadcaster TVM, Dunya Maumoon said the Maldives would become “enslaved” and lose its independence if the government accepted such demands.

Foreign governments do not wish well for the Maldives, she continued and called on the public to protect the country’s institutions, independence and sovereignty.


8 thoughts on “Government dismisses US secretary of state’s comments as ‘personal views’”

  1. This is how the Secretary talks about his personal views?

  2. "Foreign governments do not wish well for the Maldives, she continued...."

    Is this what Dunya Maumoon calls diplomacy?

  3. What does Boh Mundhu know about diplomacy? Whether they are personal remarks or not, John Kerry is the US Secretary of State and arguably the most important diplomat in the world today and his views do count on the world stage!

    Boh Mundhu needs to get hold of "Idiots Guide to Diplomacy".

  4. Mohamed Hussain Shareef acting Foreign Minister! Does this mean Dhunya is OUWT?
    Dhunya, Mundhu and that infamous interpreter, will say any goddamn thing to deceive people!

  5. Secretaries of State do not speak in public about their "personal views". I am no fan of John Kerry for many reasons, however he is entitled to put forward the criticisms of the US State Department, which in this instance are justified. Maldives is not the same happy nation I used to visit.

  6. What age does (ex?) Foreign Minister Dhunya think we live in? The Middle Ages or the Stone Age? Is it OK to be enslaved to her and her family cabal of thugs and their cronies? Isn't it time for the so call forces of diplomacy that are said to represent the majority of Maldivians to stop spouting this kind of defensive claptrap? Shame, shame.Please. Not in our name.

  7. I suspect the US Secretary of State doesn't make a habit of shooting his mouth off. That is, unlike our ministers who call on the demonstrators to' bring it on,' or decide to have fireworks display to show they have 'won' against their own people. I think it comes down to intelligence- or the lack of it!


Comments are closed.