Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) President Mohamed Nasheed has called on President Abdulla Yameen to conduct official talks with all political parties.
“As soon as possible, even if possible tonight, I urge President Yameen to commence talks with all political parties, especially with the inclusion of President Maumoon [Abdul Gayoom] in the talks,” said the former president.
“I urge President Yameen to hold discussions with President Maumoon, Honourable Gasim, even us and leaders of Adhaalath Party. Also to move away from actions that will push Maldives into chaos.”
Speaking to journalists on his return from an official trip to Abu Dhabi, Nasheed urged Yameen to abandon his strict and arbitrary policies and actions against other political figures.
Nasheed also called on President Yameen to bring any necessary legal or constitutional changes through dialogue with political parties.
Earlier this week, the MDP held a rally in front of Maafannu Villa, the residence of Jumhooree Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim, after reports that the Maamigili MP’s home was to be raided, as the now-dismissed defence minister’s was on Sunday morning (January 18).
Speaking at the rally, MDP Chairperson Ali Waheed said the MDP and JP were having informal talks to create a platform to defend the Constitution.
President Nasheed tweeted yesterday (January 21) that he had been informed of government plans to arrest him on his return, saying: “I have cut short my trip & will be back tomorrow. I’ll always stand up for democracy”.
While Nasheed was out of the country, his legal team was informed that the High Court was to resume the Hulhumalé Magistrates Court appeal case, the result of which could see Nasheed’s trial for the 2012 detention of Criminal Court Judge Abdulla Mohamed resume.
Nasheed also claimed this afternoon that the government planned to sign the Maritime Silk Route agreement on January 25 and to hand over large parts of Laamu Atoll to China for the establishment of a military base for 99 years in return for US$2 billion.
“When such actions are taken, the relationship between some bigger neighbouring countries and Maldives will deteriorate significantly”, Nasheed stated.
Speaking last month at the inaugural ceremony of the Laamu Atoll link road – built and financed by the Chinese government – Yameen revealed that the government had identified the area as a potential special economic zone (SEZ).
Tourism minister and head of the SEZ investment board Ahmed Adeeb was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.
On December 16, the Maldives officially signed up to China’s Maritime Silk Route project, with economic development minister Mohamed Saeed signing an MoU during the first meeting of the Joint Committee on Trade and Economic Cooperation in Beijing.
President Xi Jinpeng has repeatedly called upon the Maldives to become involved in the project, which Xinhua has reported to have the support of over 50 countries.
One such urging came during Xi’s state visit to the Maldives in September 2014 – the first by a Chinese head of state, representing the rapidly expanding ties between the two countries.
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