US Assistant Secretary Blake claims political stalemate can be solved through dialogue

United States Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Robert Blake, has urged the Maldives’ deadlocked executive and opposition-majority parliament to work “collaboratively together to end the current political impasse.”

Speaking to the Maldivian press in the American corner of the National Library after a day of meetings with government, opposition and parliamentary figures, Blake suggested it was ”time for all sides to put aside narrow partisan differences so they can resume work to serve the people, and restore confidence in the public institutions of the country.”

The former ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives claimed the current political crisis facing the Maldives “is one that is familiar to many democracies – the president represents one party while the opposition controls the parliament.”

“I told President Nasheed and [DRP leader] Mr Ahmed Thasmeen Ali that there is really only one way out – both sides must be open to dialogue and compromise. I’m very confident that both sides are capable of that,” Blake said, adding that this had been proved during the drafting of the constitution in 2007-2008.

“A continued stalemate is in no one’s interest. There is a risk of further violence and that in turn will impact tourism and aggravate the economic challenges the Maldives faces. The people really want to see their politicians work together to deal with some of the big challenges the country is facing,” he said.

Blake observed that it was also “very important” for the government to work in accordance with the rule of law, and suggesting President Nasheed either charge detained People’s Alliance (PA) MP Abdulla Yameen, who has been accused of corruption and treason, or release him from his ‘protective custody’ on the Presidential Retreat at Aarah.

Blake implied he was aware of challenges facing the judiciary and noted that there were “some very important steps to be taken in the near future regarding the Supreme Court nominees and the continuation of their terms”, but said this was “just one more reason for the government to work together with the opposition.”

Meanwhile at an opposition coalition press conference earlier this week, Thasmeen and Jumhooree Party (JP) Leader Gasim Ibrahim announced that the opposition front was ready and willing to engage in peaceful dialogue to resolve the political deadlock.

However, said Thasmeen, the government’s actions were “worsening the situation” and the controversial detention of Yameen was not conducive to peaceful dialogue.

“As you know, leader of the People’s Alliance Abdullah Yameen is under military custody,” he said. “This is unacceptable. We are seeing that there is no rule of law in the country anymore.”

Alleging that Yameen’s detention was illegal and “outside the bounds of law”, Thasmeen added that the opposition coalition did not believe parliament sittings could be held in the absence of the Mulaku MP.

Yameen’s detention was the “essence” of the present deadlock as the government had “not followed due process”.

Gasim reiterated the opposition’s coalition desire for “a just solution” to the current political crisis and urged the government to “immediately release Abdulla Yameen” and consider the importance of allowing the People’s Alliance leader to participate in the talks.

The DRP parliamentary group leader told press that the unified parties had undertaken “broad” diplomatic efforts to inform foreign embassies, governments and international agencies of the situation in the Maldives and seek assistance and support.

“I went to Ceylon about a week ago, met embassy officials, informed them of the situation and asked for assistance,” he said, adding that the opposition coalition was working with the UN, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the Commonwealth.

Thasmeen claimed that the concern expressed by the international community following the recent unrest was “unprecedented”.

Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) Leader Hassan Saeed is meanwhile lobbying for international support in the UK.

On the opposition coalition’s nightly protests outside the DRP office, Thasmeen said the party was forced to “mobilise our supporters” due to the dangers posed by the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party activists’ “vigilante justice”.

Gasim joined the DRP leader to condemn “calls for people to be killed” and protest gatherings outside judges’ residences.

The opposition leaders also revealed that talks mediated by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa had failed.

While Speaker Abdulla Shahid yesterday announced that sittings would be canceled “indefinitely” following the MNDF refusal to escort MP Yameen to parliament this week, a statement issued by parliament today welcomes the inception of talks between the government and opposition parties.

It adds that although the coming week included national holidays on the occasion of Independence Day on July 26, the Speaker hoped political parties would be able to “establish an environment” for the parliament to function.

“After the hoped-for talks, I intend to hold a Majlis sitting on August 1, 2010,” it reads.

President Mohamed Nasheed meanwhile told press yesterday that he hoped all parties, “especially MDP and DRP,” will be able to come to the negotiating table and resolve the dispute peacefully.

Asked about MP Yameen’s continued detention, Nasheed acknowledged that “nobody could argue that for anyone to remain in custody while peace is to be achieved is the right away.”

While foreign mediators were needed in some cases, said Nasheed, most foreign parties were not prepared to “stay for the long haul” but rather desired credit for their role.

“Nothing can be solved in one sitting,” he said. “I feel that a Maldivian should be the mediator…and foreign parties could talk to the local mediator. In any case, the Commonwealth is saying they are ready, the European Union is saying they too are ready, the UN is ready, four friendly nations are saying they ready. So now I don’t know who to ask.”


28 thoughts on “US Assistant Secretary Blake claims political stalemate can be solved through dialogue”

  1. I do not see any use for foreign mediation when President Nasheed accuses foreign offers for mediation as being driven by the selfish interest to gain a good name for themselves. Mediation would be meaningless if one party does not trust the mediator.

    It is interesting that Nasheed who was a strong advocate of foreign mediation when he was in the opposition sees no room for it today.

  2. Let’s go for public referendum whether to release Yameen. If he wins let him go otherwise charge him for corruption and treachery.

  3. Dear Mr Blake,

    Looking at you I can see that you are in your late forties or fifties. That means if you were born in USA, you were born into a democracy and you took your first breath in an environment where there were functional democratic structures in operation.

    You certainly know a lot about the inner workings of democracy in your own nation. But what you don't know is the political situation in the Maldives.

    Being the former Ambassador to Sri lanka and Maldives, doesn't mean you know much about these two countries.

    Your interest as an Ambassador to these two countries was to secure the US interests in the two countries. And that is all about what benefits your country.

    Not us, the Maldivians.

    Does it matter to you that we have the most corrupt people sitting in the Parliament and even as its Speaker?


    Does it matter to you that we have a judiciary that is controlled by people who are corrupt down to the last cell they cast off?


    What matters to you to high jump in here and start making statements. Since you are the protectors of democracy!

    How come you didn't come to Maldives before 2008 and make such statements you are making today?

    Let me tell you this Mr Blake.

    Maldives is not a democracy yet. And it has no democratic institutions. People of Maldives do not understand democracy.

    The only way the Maldivians can transform this country into a democracy is by doing what the President of this country is doing right now.

    And you are so ignorant of that.

    President Nasheed has a vision and he works for it. People like you will only see something if it hangs down between your two eyes.

    According to our constitution, the President is the head of the government and head of State. And today, it is our President's responsibility to protect the constitution that paves the way for democracy here.

    The President is acting within the rule of law.

    The last thing we need is you to tell us what is in our law and our constitution.

    Yours sincerely


  4. I am interested to know what Dr. Hassan Saeed is doing in the UK. Did he meet anyone from the government? Or the All-Party Parliamentary group? All we hear is he is lobbying in the UK. He could well be having a nice holiday there.

  5. It will be very difficult for our govt to accept a foreign mediator such as US ,EU or UN as they would respect principles of good governers. First thing they would ask all parties to respect constitional rights irrespective of the accusation. This will be difficult for our govt to accept looking at the current situation. Obviousely it would be much better to resolve this deadlock by ourselves but it appears neither party is ready to compromise and continue with their ego against each other.

  6. Secy Robert Blake had given a very general point of view. In a brief visit that's what an international figure can do. That's not anyone's fault. It should be up to the people living here to follow the right direction.

    In fact President Obama is facing the same tactics at home from the opposition Republicans and recently he had complained about this publicly.

    Mr.President(Nasheed) wasn't saying "he didn't trust foreign mediators" but he factually explained these sorts of meditations and it's effect, while the facts are clear to any person living here.

    It's commonsense that some people are desperate to cover up the truth and trying to generalize this as just a "political raw". This is bigger than just some disputes between two or more political parties.

    It's about future of this nation. It's about the corrupt elements of ex-regime infringing constitutional rights and work of the executive arm of the government and bringing the country to a halt by depicting a false view of this government's abilities. It's about these deceptions some are believing and the notion "nothing really happened during the reign of so called "DRP controlled", "Zero Tolerance" Ex-Government".

    These are just illusions out of desire to cover up all atrocities and corruption that led to a popular uprising on the streets of Male'. How easily and conveniently some forget.

    Look at the facts and the desperateness of those so called opposition parties. By taking cover under constitutional grounds within the rights given for the benefit of the whole nation, the elements of corruption and deceit are concealing their "evils" and trying to paint anyone who is working for the good of the nation otherwise. This is the actual and bigger problem we are facing today.

    Everyone who loves the nation by keeping our own desires aside, should stop pretending and distance themselves from the elements of deceptions, corruption and selfishness for the good of our nation. Faithfully and Sincerely.

  7. Hi Maldivians, my fellow countrymen!

    Beneath the political stress in Maldives, I see what threaten to tear our beloved nation apart, I can see the emergent outlines of a largely unrecognized consensus that the Maldives most of us want to bequeath to our children is very different from the Maldives in which we now live. The conservatives and liberals share a sense that the dominant culture and institutions of today's Maldives are morally and spiritually bankrupt, unresponsive to human needs and values, to law and order, and destructive of strong families and community we crave and our children desperately need.

    My countrymen! We are been deceived by the divide-and-rule tactics of power hungry, selfish politicians, each places blame on the other rather than forming a united front to reject lies and unite to achieve our common dream;- making Maldives a more promising, peaceful and harmonious nation for all.

  8. Mr. Blake, please learn this, from a fellow westerner. When I first went to the Maldives, I was filled with all these idealistic western solutions to the political problems there. I had completed an arts degree in politics and I thought that by teaching Maldivians about rule of law and separation of powers I could somehow help. Yet I soon discovered that I was hopelessly naive, and that although out of respect for my Maldivian wife, most Maldivians kind of entertained my stupidity as though I was something great, the reality was that I knew NOTHING about how the Maldives really worked and I was sprouting off like a damn clown. When someone finally had the guts to put me in my place, and tell me how much of a stupid fool I really looked like, I realized that I was a way out of my league. Look, the level of competitiveness over resource control in the Maldives is itense, and when it comes down to it, you CAN NOT get anything done for the health, safety of your family without patronising some power broker. It is a sytem of attempting to use a little corruption to convince others to fight the bigger corruption. Then the other thing is, family and social obligations. And yet, through all this mess, their is also a deep beautiful Islamic spiritual theme which gives spirit to all this drama and it is crazy but beautiful.

    Maldivians have way more to teach you about human nature and political reality than you could ever teach them. It is hurtful and insulting for them to have to patronise and pretend to worship men such as yourself who is less intelligent than any Maldivian, but they do it because at the end of the day they need your nation's support in certain areas. Maldivians know the dark subtleties of their own political reality.

    For example, let me explain something to you, Mr. Blake. Yamin is an incredibly brutal man. With the judiciary under Yamin's control, there is no chance that Yamin will face the consequences he needs to face to be brought to justice under the present courts. So, it is not just that Yamin be charged and face court until the judiciary is free from his control. So, by stating that he needs to be charged or released is foolish, it is imposing injustice and tyranny. Could somebody please convey this to Mr. Blake and his friends.

  9. And yet despite all that, I have to say, I love Maldives and Male' very deeply, and long to return to the old Mosques there where I found so much peace and happiness.

  10. "While foreign mediators were needed in some cases, said Nasheed, most foreign parties were not prepared to “stay for the long haul” but rather desired credit for their role."

    The president has a valid point here.
    Unless foreign mediators can provide their expertise for a long term, this is not going to work. If it would, President Rajapaksa could have done the magic. Didn't he mediate?

    The problems we have is not a single issue. Nor is it a small issue. The problems we have will continue in some form as long as the parliament has an opposition majority.

    But, I think, if EVERYONE is really interested in making the country propserous, there should not be any problems for everyone will be working towards the same goal.

    Then why do we have present situation?
    From what all politicians say, they are all working in the best interest of the country. Why then do we have this deadlock?

  11. Gasim joined the DRP leader to condemn “calls for people to be killed” and protest gatherings outside judges’ residences.- what about apostate Nazim's case where Islamic foundation released a statement calling for his death? No lawyer was willing to take up his case. Did we hear even a hoot from these opportunists? Where were they when death threats were made against Hilath.
    I guess we wait for the tides to change the way Hassan Saeed (co author of 'Apostasy in Islam') recently dubbed maumoon's rule as "30 years of suppression, torture and censorship" for his article on Guardian.
    Maldives is where the practice of double standards is perfected. Thanks to the short term memory and lack of critical thinking skills among the public.
    Nazmin definitely showed courage unprecedented for Maldivians that we only read in stories of the prophets or Socrates.

  12. Hello "Independant News for Maldives" here is some breaking news for you. Yameen is transfered to his house this noon.

  13. correction- hassan saeed is co author of "Freedom of Religion, Apostasy and Islam"

  14. @Hameed on Fri, 23rd Jul 2010 6:16 AM

    Hameed, you are lost in the depths of a wide Ocean of "BLUES" 😉

    Illogical comments, out of desires of selfishness proves that you belong to the party of "BLUES".

    You are twisting words of people in anyway you want to fit it into your view point.

    Wake up, dear brother... stop following the footsteps of Satan... Be a Maldivian and judge the facts honestly and sincerely and voice against anything that is done wrong, be it this government or the ex-government...

    May GOD unite us and guide us to the correct direction.

  15. Mr. Blake, our high idealistic moral arrogance is stupidity here. Please do not judge Maldivian people. I love Maldivians more than anything, yet at times I hate them more than anything.

    Maldivians are incredibly moral minded people, honesty is a priority, yet they are torn by a society which demands hypocrisy and dishonesty for survival. So much social tension is created by this reality. SO MUCH ANXIETY AND INNER CONFLICT. Yet this tension has created a social intelligence in maldivians which far surpasses what we have in the West.

    Every Maldivian I have met hates corruption with a fierce fire of righteous zeal. It is ingrained in Islam, the nature of this perpetual struggle against Zulm (darkness). This even includes those who are atheists, the fire for justice is like an overwhelming furnace, it is their even if its Islamic routes are ignored or denied. Yet, as paradoxical as this may seem, at the same time, pushed by the need to survive, most of these same zealots have done something corrupt at one level or the other. A large percent of Maldivians over the age of 18 and below the age of 35 are very well versed in political philosophy and liberal democratic theory. How ever, in practical reality, to be powerful enough to do any kind thing for the society, one must climb the ladder where the rails are made from corruption. So, idealistic principles have to be betrayed to be installed, this is the agony of moral dilemma a good maldivian politician goes through!

    AS i SAID TO iBRA ONCE, Sadly, acquiring power and being cared for (being respected in general) has nothing to do with being a good person, it has to do with the capacity to lie effectively and to be ruthless... Rightly so, good people always stand up against bad ppl, and come off second best, the good person comes out looking like the bad person. This is because the good person is not ruthless enough to reveal and expose all the secrets of the bad person because they still have a sense of the essential dignity of the human being and there is a line they will not cross. A bad person, on the other hand, will dig in the claws, I mean, really lie, exaggurate, and demonize the good person to such an extent that the good person will look like the devil. Power has to do with your capacity to buy ppl, to excite them or to intimidate them. It has to do with your capacity to lie effectively. Humans are attracted to a gangster mentality, they want to be part of power. One or two in ten thousand stand alone and suffer for it.

    Some politicians just give themselves to the dark side completely, and there only principle is ruthless aggression.

    Anni's case, and the case of a few politicians, is that, they burn to do good, to pursue equity and justice, and wish they could create an idealistic society and believe that one day they can, but they also sadly realize that at times they have to play hard ass and 'Nulafa" to get the power to create these ideals, that is, to implement these ideals. Rule of law, they would love!! But It is a paradox, and a hard balancing act, but it is the burden that a good hearted politician has to endure. It often seems to create the rule of law you have to break the rule of law.

    And yet, through all of this, many Maldivians are also the most self sacrificially generous people on earth, they are so spiritual. If you are in a Maldivian family and you are sick, 50 ppl will be by your bedside reciting Qur'an for you, and brothers will sleep with you in the hospital. They would give their last bit of food for you. Paradoxical beautiful complex Maldivians...

  16. Understanding the tragically unaviodable nature of corruption, Anni did not push for vengeance and justice against Yamin when Anni first came into power. Even when others close to him, and members of his own cabinet pushed for a witch hunt, Anni agreed to it but did not pursue it vigorously because he wanted to be able to forgive and hoped that the corrupt would cease being corrupt. Anni did not push hard for the witch hunt to survive he hoped it may frighten the corrupt into behaving honestly and then he thought it would fizzle out of the picture. Anni's heart was for reconcilliation, dialogue with the opposition and forgiveness all the time. He begged and begged for dialogue and reconciliation with the opposition.

    But when certain ppl pursued their "dark and evil schemes" to quote Zuhair, Anni was left with no choice but to take this action. You know, Anni had forgiven Yamin many times... for hideous things, Anni forgave many, but the man has pushed and pushed the Government to the point of disfunction. Yamin has never appreciated Anni's benevolence and forgiveness towards him. He has taken advantage of Anni's long suffering patience with Yamin for years. But now, Yamin, through his absolute ingratitude, has brought this upon his own head....I promise you, if Anni thought Yamin could be honest this time around, Anni would release him and hug and forgive him in a second. As it shappens, this will never happen...

  17. I am sure, from personal experience, that Yamin is incapable of admitting he is at fault, or wrong, as whenever something goes bad for he or his people, he blames others mercilessly.

  18. The Americans know nothing about anybody except themselves.

    How can they when all the time they talk about themselves, watch Hollywood Movies and present themselves as American.

    Americans live American, think American, behave American, eat American and dance American.

    And then America is all about being BIG.

    Big bucks, big missiles, big buildings, big boats, big butts and big whatnot.

    There is nothing wrong with that though.

    But Blake buddy, you should understand that you know very little about us, the Maldives.

    Keep going big in your big world and leave us to clean our own backyard.

    We have the will, the tools and the skills to get the job done.

  19. By education, Yameen is a US product through and through. More US involvement would LIKELY to be in Yameen's favour.

  20. looks like mid term election on the horizon, Can Anni take Yameen as his running mate or vice versa.

  21. Americans will have a lot of sympathy for Yameen -- they can see a mirror of Al Capone and the mafia in him!

  22. @Ben Plewright

    You seem to know a lot about Maldivian society but one thing i disagree is the beauty you see form all the chaos and immorality in this society. Oh sure Maldives is better than our neighbors in south Asia, and you probably do get a better welcome because of your high and mighty European looks.

    Rest is blah blah

  23. King of Swing, my high and mighty european looks??? hey man, i wish!!, I am a fat ugly dude i don't think anyone is gonna go for my looks...

    Well, yeah, I mean, some Maldivians may look up to Europeans, but where I stayed, lot of radical Islamists around and um,,, I used to play football with them and they bullied me a bit because they assumed I was a Christian until they saw me in the Mosques... I had both...

    But, what I was talking about the beauty was well, you know to me it was kind of like a tragedy... um,,, you would sorrow so much that eventually you would sob yourself into a state of tranquility...was for me, something i experienced in the very small mosques whilst praying, contemplating,,, through the suffering i was able to find a closeness to Allah... as Allah drew closest to me in my suffering, in my need for him... i hope that helps

  24. King of swing, and all, I should have explained what i meant by "the beauty I see form all the chaos and immorality in this society, " by not explaining what i meant i have cheapened it..sorry

  25. King of swing, what i meant was, where there is much suffering, there is much spirituality... because in tragedy and suffering ppl turn to Allah, or to whichever God, and I spent a lot of time crying in the Mosques, hurting, and praying in pain, but through that I developed a kind of a very strong sesne and faith in God... i know that it can also work other way around, where there is suffering, ppl hate God and turn against God... well, it depends on individuals etc... but, i found the deep Sufi like faith of some of my wife's family to be absolutely deep and beautiful, it was not a Hanbali literalist faith but a deep sense of Allah everywehere

  26. I’ve seen a very interesting article in the blog below. Strongly suggest you read it. Unbiast and to the point written in simple language for everybody to understand. I enjoyed reading it.

  27. Maldives embraced corruption long before Islam. Since it has been an intergral part of the Maldivian culture (if we have any). Corruption is respected, accepted, and dignified in this society. However these are things we never talk, discuss in public, for social fabric. Anni must have dreamed of a Maldives minus corruption. Our current problem is Anni's reckless desire to bleach the society. Accept corruption as a Maldivian social feature and our problems will be solved.


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