President’s Office Spokesperson “stands by” comments against GMR, Indian High Commissioner

President’s Office Spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza confirmed that he stands by his controversial comments made against Indian High Commissioner D M Mulay last week.

Speaking at a rally on November 9 calling for the government to “reclaim” Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) from Indian infrastructure giant GMR, Riza described Mulay as a “traitor and enemy of the Maldives and the Maldivian people”.

The remarks have since been widely reported by Indian media, sparking a diplomatic row and forcing the President’s Office to issue a statement distancing itself from the comments.

Riza also spoke at a rally last Friday, characterising the Indian media coverage of his remarks as a “success” and urging participants to persevere “until GMR leaves this country.”

Riza told Minivan News that the comments were made in his “personal capacity” rather than his “official capacity”, adding: “The comments were my personal opinion and I still stand by them.”

Members of parliament expressed concern over the remarks made by Riza, leading to a debate on the matter last Tuesday (November 13).

During the debate, MPs of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) condemned the comments claiming they were made against diplomatic protocol and could affect bilateral relations with India.

Meanwhile, MDP MP Eva Abdulla alleged that the remarks made by Riza were not those of his own but were rather under “direct orders” from President Mohamed Waheed Hassan.

The majority of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MPs attempted to defend Riza, and tried to switch the focus to High Commissioner Mulay.

In an apparent contradiction to its comments in parliament, the PPM on November 12 issued a statement dissociating the party from the “slanderous” allegations made against Mulay.

Meanwhile, PPM MP Abdul Azeez Jamaal Aboobakr defended Riza, stating that a person’s freedom cannot be limited because of his employment, and that Riza too had his freedom of speech.

Aboobakr also highlighted that Riza had at the beginning of Friday’s speech said that he was going to make the remarks not in his official capacity as the spokesperson, but in an individual capacity.

More recently the Indian Government has expressed concern over the “continuing political instability” of the Maldives.

A statement released by the Indian Government on November 17 also showed concern about the “anti-Indian protests” being staged in the country.

President Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik yesterday told Indian News Agency, Press Trust of India (PTI) that India need not be concerned with affairs in the Maldives.

Speaking about the GMR contract signed under the previous government, Waheed told PTI: “The agreement [to lease INIA to GMR] was signed by the previous government, and the circumstances leading to the stamping of the deal were questionable. Hence, this is not a problem that we have with GMR, but with a bad agreement.

“We have to pay GMR 1.5 million US dollars per month under the current arrangement of the agreement in operation, and that is beyond our capacity.”

The government’s financial liability in the airport deal – its most recent bill for the third quarter was US$2.2 million – is the result a of a civil court case filed by the now ruling-coalition Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP), during the Nasheed administration, which blocked GMR from levying an airport development charge (ADC) as stipulated in its concession agreement.

The Civil Court ruled in the DQP’s favour. Opting to honour the contract, the Nasheed administration instructed the company to deduct the ADC from its concession fees while it sought to appeal the matter.

The new government – which includes the DQP – inherited the problem following the downfall of Nasheed’s government on February 7. In the first quarter of 2012 the government received US$525,355 of an expected US$8.7 million, after the deduction of the ADC. That was followed by a US$1.5 million bill for the second quarter, after the ADC payable eclipsed the revenue due the government.

Combined with the third quarter payment due, the government now owes the airport developer US$3.7 million.

GMR has previously offered to compromise by exempting Maldivian nationals from paying the ADC, but claimed not to have received a response from the new government.

Protests continuing

Meanwhile political groups in the Maldives continue to stage protests against the GMR contract. The Indian infrastructure giant hasa said it is flexible about discussing issues within the framework of the agreement with the Maldives government.

A senior official of GMR told the Hindu Business Line: “We remain flexible within the framework of concession agreement…If they want to scrap the agreement, [in that case] we are finished.

“We have already invested more than $200 million. Our banks are watching. It is impossible for us to scrap and sit back.”

Meanwhile, the Maldives government has been asked by India to ensure the safety and security of its nationals in Maldives and “Indian interests” in the country in view of the ongoing anti-India demonstrations.

The anti-GMR campaign, from which Riza’s comments stem from, has been increasing pressure on the government to annul the agreement.

Adhaalath Party President Sheikh Imran Abdulla – a leading figure in the anti-GMR activities – gave the government a six-day ultimatum to cancel the contract.

Despite the initial date having passed without any official conclusion, Sheikh Imran, speaking at the artificial beach on Friday (November 16) night, said: “The Maldivian President has heard our plea, [He] has said that he heeds and respects it, [He] needs some time to arrange a few things.

“Hence to give [him] some time even if the previously issued ultimatum is up. The work is being done in this manner. Hence to give some space and stay put.”

In light of this information, Sheikh Imran has said that the ultimatum has now been extended to November 30, adding: “Our patience will wear out at some point, after that point we will go for direct action. After November 30, we will go for direct action. We will not stay still.”


DQP, PPM MPs defend government spokesperson in debate over Friday’s diplomatic incident

Members of parliament have expressed concern over recent remarks against Indian High Commissioner to the Maldives, D M Mulay, by President’s Office Spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza.

MPs debated the matter on Tuesday after a motion submitted by MDP MP Ibrahim ‘Bondey’ Rasheed, condemning government’s failure to take action against the spokesperson’s remarks.

Following criticism from the High Commission and the Indian government, the President’s Office published a statement distancing the government from Riza’s remarks.

During a rally organised by parties of the ruling coalition calling for the seizure and nationalisation of Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) from Indian infrastructure giant GMR, Riza described Mulay as a “traitor and enemy of the Maldives and the Maldivian people”, accusing him of taking bribes and threatening the government.

During the debate, MPs of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) condemned the remarks claiming they were made against diplomatic protocol and could affect bilateral relations with India.

Presenting the motion, MP Rasheed highlighted that GMR operates airports in New Delhi, Hyderabad and in Turkey.  He added that Turkey also has a strong Muslim majority but the people there do not go out on to the streets calling to take back the airport in the name of protecting Islam.

Rasheed added that tourists would obviously see protesters hollering around the airport on boats, and that this could potentially harm foreign investment in the country.

He also added that after talking “nonsense” in front of the general public, a president’s spokesperson cannot later claim that he was expressing his “personal opinions”, and that a repeat of such actions could inflict irreparable damage to the economy.

“Act of terrorism”

Speaking on the motion, Deputy Parliamentary Group Leader of MDP MP Ali Waheed described the anti-GMR armada as an “act of terrorism”.

“What we saw yesterday was an act of terrorism. If the government wishes to terminate the contract with GMR that was entered into during the former government, then do it, instead of nonsense like this,” Waheed said.

He further added that Spokesperson Riza had made a huge blunder by speaking “so lowly” of the high commissioner, and the best thing for him to do was apologise or resign from his position as spokesperson.

Deputy leader of the government-aligned Jumhoree Party (JP)  MP Abdulla Jabir echoed similar sentiments during the debate.

“What I saw was a group of terrorists who went to stop the businesses of this country and to take over those businesses in the international airport illegitimately. I condemn these actions and this is not something that should be repeated in this country ever again,” said Jabir.

MDP Spokesperson and MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor said that during the MDP’s three year democratic government, the country saw a large number of foreign investors investing in the Maldives because of the trust those investors had in the government.

He added that India alone had contributed nearly a billion dollars to the Maldivian economy, and that GMR was one of the many that came through a transparent international bidding process with the technical assistance of International Finance Corporation (IFC), a group under the World Bank.

He expressed concern that if similar blunders were seen from the government, the Maldives risked losing the investor confidence gained over the last three years.

Meanwhile, MDP MP Eva Abdulla alleged that the remarks made by Riza were not those of his own but were rather under “direct orders” from President Mohamed Waheed Hassan.

“Indian government is involved in this conspiracy”: DQP MP Riyaz Rasheed

During the debate, the majority of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MPs attempted to defend Riza, and tried to switch the focus on to High Commissioner Mulay.

In an apparent contradiction to its comments in parliament, the PPM on November 12 issued a statement dissociating the the party from the “slanderous” allegations made against Mulay.

Deputy leader and the only MP from the government-aligned Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP), MP Riyaz Rasheed made strong allegations against the Indian government, repeating Riza’s allegations against Mulay.

“[Mulay] is trying to declare the airport a property of the Indian government or the GMR group, and it is a fact that the Indian government working on the agenda as well,” he claimed.

Riyaz alleged that GMR and the Indian government were “eyeing” the MPs who spoke against them and that if those MPs travelled to India, he had information that GMR was “intending to plant drugs in their baggage.”

He also said it was saddening to see that a High Commissioner from the world’s largest democracy could not digest remarks made by the spokesperson, and added that there was a great difference between speaking in an official capacity and in an individual capacity.

Meanwhile, PPM MP Abdul Azeez Jamaal Aboobakr defended Riza, stating that a person’s freedom cannot be limited because of his employment, and that Riza too had his freedom of speech.

Aboobakr also highlighted that Riza had at the beginning of Friday’s speech said that he was going to make the remarks not in his official capacity as the spokesperson, but in an individual capacity.

Another PPM MP, Ahmed Mahloof, said the current government of President Waheed had all the needed powers to terminate the GMR agreement.

“This is something that could be done even sitting inside a luxurious air-conditioned room. All President Waheed has to do is decide on the matter,” Mahloof said.

He added that it was unnecessary to make a fuss out of the issue, referring to the anti-GMR boat armada, and that those who really wanted to terminate the GMR contract should have protested in front of the president’s office.

He also admitted that he could be subjected to allegations of taking bribes from his fellow MPs after making a remark in favour of GMR.

During the debate, MPs from the second largest political party Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) followed the opposition MDP in condemning the remarks made by Riza.

DRP MP Ahmed Mohamed during the debate stated that he condemned the remarks made by Riza and Deputy Home Minister Ahmed ‘Boafan’ Abdulla during Friday’s rally.

“I call upon the government to settle this issue as soon as possible. I urge the government to finish the this issue before the political figures of this country begin to take advantage and politicise it,” he warned.

DRP MP Hussain Mohamed stated that the local party to the agreement was a 100 percent government owned company and therefore it was up to the government to make a decision.

Hussain Mohamed added that it was “utter nonsense” for political parties in government to come out and protest against the government.

Indian High Commissioner “traitor and enemy of the Maldives and the Maldivian people”: Riza

The debate stirred up in parliament followed remarks made by Riza during an anti-GMR rally held on Friday, calling the government to terminate the agreement with GMR – a 25-year concession agreement to develop and manage the airport, and overhaul the existing terminal while a new one is constructed on the other side of the island. The agreement represents the largest case of foreign investment in the Maldives.

“Trade between the Maldives and India reaches billions. Indian tycoons have the biggest share in Maldives tourism.  Indian people are deepest in Maldivian business.  We have to protect the businesses of those who import and sell potatoes and onions from India. We also have to protect the businesses of those who import gravel and sand from India. It should not be GMR that [Mulay] should take into account,” Riza declared during the rally.

“Today, like someone who has chilli smoke on his eyes, like someone who has ants at his feet who is threatening us Maldivians, the Indian ambassador here has forgotten what his job here in Maldives is. We are not in the mood to allow him to commit the crimes he is committing in our country,” he told as the crowd roared in support.

“A diplomat’s job is to work for his country and people and not to protect the interests of one private company… He is a traitor and enemy of Maldives and Maldivian people. We don’t want these kind of diplomats on our soil,

“Today we are also calling on for something else. On the day when we get GMR out of the Maldives, Mulay must also get out of here!” Riza said.

Riza’s comments were widely reported in Indian media.

Television channel Times Now described the “vicious targeting of the Indian envoy as leaving “a bitter taste”, and sparking a “huge diplomatic row”. The story had also been picked up by the Hindu and the Indian Express.

The remarks were quickly met with concern and condemnation by the Indian High Commission, which issued a statement dismissing the Presidential spokesperson’s allegations as being “against the diplomatic protocol”.

“We have told the government of Maldives that settling issues of huge mutual interest cannot be done on public space or on stage. This has to be done through discussion,” the High Commission said in a statement.

The Indian High Commission also made it clear that India would safeguard its interests including the investments of Indian companies.

Anti-GMR armada

On Monday afternoon, three days following Riza’s remarks, the anti-GMR campaign took to the seas in an effort to increase pressure on the government to “reclaim” INIA from the Indian infrastructure giant.

A seaborne armada of about 15 dhonis carrying flags and banners circled the airport as part of an ongoing campaign to annul the contract signed between the former government and GMR to manage and develop a new terminal at INIA.

Deputy Home Minister Abdulla told Haveeru that 50,000 people have signed the petition put together by a group of NGOs seeking to annul the agreement and nationalise the airport.

In response to the large number of boats circling the airport, the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) increased its seaborne presence to counter the rally, using coastguard vessels to block the entrance to the airport harbour.

MNDF Colonel Abdul Raheem told Minivan News: We had no major concern yesterday, we did not increase our military presence at the airport itself, instead we wanted to make sure that no one [from the protest] could enter the airport area from the sea.”

Adhaalath Party President Sheikh Imran Abdulla told Haveeru the protesters had no intention of disembarking at the airport and that the purpose of the rally was to “observe airport operations in the area”.

Last week Sheikh Imran gave the government a six-day ultimatum to annul the GMR agreement (by November 15).

Former President Mohamed Nasheed, whose government approved the deal in 2010, this month slammed statements over the “reclaiming” of the airport from GMR. Nasheed claimed such comments were “highly irresponsible”, stating that such words from the government could cause irreparable damage to the country.

The present government has continued to press to “re-nationalise” the airport, with the country’s Deputy Tourism Minister confirming to Indian media in September that the administration would not “rule out the possibility of cancelling the award [to GMR]”.


Former CNI’s timeline proves coup d’etat: MDP

The timeline of events made public by the former Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) last week “proves that former Vice President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik participated in the coup d’etat that took place on 7th February 2012,” the ousted Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has said, calling on President Waheed to offer his resignation.

In a statement yesterday, the MDP contended that facts included in the CNI timeline proved Waheed’s involvement in the alleged coup and established that former President Mohamed Nasheed “was forced to resign under duress.”

The CNI timeline referred to representatives of the December 23 coalition meeting the then-vice president at 1am on 31 January, where they pledged allegiance to Dr Waheed and urged him to take control of the executive.

The MDP argued that Waheed’s assurance to the opposition leaders that he was prepared to fulfill his responsibilities was in violation of the constitution.

“Article 117(a) of the constitution states that the Vice President’s responsibilities are those which are delegated to him by the President,” the statement explained.

“Thus, when the Vice President met with opposition leaders plotting to overthrow the government and told them that he was ‘prepared to fulfill his constitutional duties’, these duties were in fact those delegated to him by the President. By participating in the government overthrow, Vice President Waheed clearly defied the mandate given to him by President Nasheed, and it is clear that Waheed’s actions were not in accordance with the Constitution.”

The CNI timeline acknowledged that police officers in uniform entered the MDP haruge around midnight on 7 February, the MDP statement noted, where they vandalised the premises and assaulted supporters inside the camp.

However, point 90 of the timeline stated that Vice President Waheed issued a statement via opposition media shortly after the attack on Haruge “characterising the police protest as peaceful, without condemning these violent actions.”

“In the statement the Vice President said: ‘I fully support the peaceful activity that many Maldivians are carrying out,'” the MDP statement noted.

The former ruling party observed that the timeline confirmed that “police were mutinying in Republic Square, which is an area where gatherings are prohibited, calling for the resignation of the President and senior officials of government.”

While the President, Home Minister, Defence Minister and Commissioner of Police were all advising the protesting police to vacate the square, the MDP noted that “the Vice President’s statement via the media encouraged them to carry on their rebellion.”

Moreover, points 158 through 166 of the CNI timeline stated that “the mutinying police and civilians were conducting an uninterrupted assault on the headquarters of the Maldives National Defence Force.”

Point 156 meanwhile acknowledged that police officers at the square charged and attacked MDP protesters on the morning of 7 February, resulting in “serious injuries” to party members.

Points 167 and 168 confirmed that weapons and shields from the police headquarters were distributed to civilians at the Republic Square, the MDP observed, which was “under the control of mutinying police and the civilians that had joined them.”

Moreover, point 207 stated that according to media reports, an announcement was made at the square that President Nasheed was detained inside the MNDF headquarters. Minivan News journalists at the scene on 7 February heard the announcement at about 10am.

The CNI timeline also referred to current Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim emerging from the MNDF barracks to inform the crowd that he had demanded the “immediate and unconditional resignation” of the President, adding that the demand was “non-negotiable.”

Nazim, a retired colonel, was a civilian at the time.

“During all these events, point 170 of the timeline reveals that Vice President Mohamed Waheed did not go to the President’s Office despite it being an official government day and the day of the regular cabinet meeting,” the MDP observed.

The MDP statement went on to note that the timeline confirmed the presence of Nazim and current Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz inside the President’s Office after Nasheed was escorted there under heavy military guard, “despite having no official capacity or status.”

Points 236, 241, 242 and 244 of the timeline revealed that Nasheed’s resignation letter was not delivered to the Speaker of Parliament by official dispatch, the statement added.

Photos emerged on 7 February of Nazim and Riyaz carrying the resignation letter to parliament.

“The biggest revelation from the timeline released by the Commission of National Inquiry, and as proved by the points listed above, is that power changed hands on 7th February 2012 through a coup d’état conducted by the police and military with the support of opposition political leaders and Vice President Dr. Mohamed Waheed,” the MDP statement concluded.

“Dr. Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik has repeatedly stated during meetings with diplomats and international partners that he would resign if it were proven that the events of 7th February 2012 were a coup d’état. Given these statements, the Maldivian Democratic Party calls on Dr. Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik to offer his resignation.”

In an interview with the BBC last week, Dr Waheed said that should the CNI “find out that I had a role in bringing about a coup, then I would definitely resign.”

He however added, “But if I have no role – if somebody else has done it – it doesn’t mean I have to resign, according to the law of the Maldives.”

Contacted by Minivan News for a response to the MDP statement today, President’s Office Spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza said the government had “no comment”.

Riza however noted that the MDP was “not an investigative body.”

Points noted by the MDP from the former CNI’s timeline:

  • Point 14: Vice President met with some leaders of the [Opposition] Coalition on the night of 30 January 2012 at Hilaaleege, his residence. He was asked at the meeting whether he was prepared to carry out his legal responsibilities. He said he was ready to do so. Coalition leaders held a press conference after the meeting to announce their endorsement of the Vice President [for President].
  • Point 17: Following Coalition discussions, protests began at Artificial Beach on 2 February 2012. At the protest, Adhaalath Party leader Imran Abdulla calls for police to arrest President Nasheed within five days [by 8 February].
  • Point 27: At the protests Adhaalath Party announces that its National Council had unanimously decided President Nasheed was not a worthy leader and had declared their full support for Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik.
  • Point 29: Home Minister asked Police Commissioner to remove police from the area where protests were being held.
  • Point 34: President Nasheed called the Commissioner a second time and ordered him to remove the police from the area, saying confidence in the police has been lost.
  • Point 41: When the military officers asked the police to leave the area, the Police Commander said they would not leave unless replacements arrive. President Nasheed phoned the Deputy Commissioner to say he was not adequately carrying out his responsibilities, and asked him to stay at home.
  • Point 47: On receiving the order from President Nasheed to have his officers removed from the area, the Male’ Area Commander considered the situation and, seeing the atmosphere as uneasy, gave the order for them to move to the Saw Mill area instead of the HQ. He thought they may have to return to the Artificial Beach soon if they left.
  • Point 113: When President Nasheed entered the main gates of Bandaara Koshi, he addressed some military officers gathered there and said police out there had mutinied and needed to be arrested. He then went inside and into the Defence Minister’s office.
  • Point 143: Suddenly, without consulting with the military, President Nasheed went to the Republic Square and began addressing the police. In addition to the bodyguards who accompanied him, Defence Minister and Chief of Defence Forces were with him. When he spoke, some MPs were also beside him.
    “I am still talking to the Maldivian police. I think you have done something wrong. I accept that given the way things happened you may not have properly realised what you were doing or where you were going. But, it is still my wish that you hand yourselves over to the police station or to the military. I assure you that I will not allow anything bad to happen to you.”
  • Point 144: Police refused to accept President Nasheed’s proposal to hand themselves over to the military.
  • Point 145: President Nasheed called over to him one of the policemen who he sent over to the military. When he called a second policeman, even though he came over, returned to sit with the police who had started protesting.
  • Point 156: As the police were finishing their recital, a group of MDP protesters holding hands approached the police from the back. Police and Coalition protesters confronted them and dispersed them. Several MDP people and police were injured during the attempts to stop the confrontation. Rumours spread among the police that one of their members had been stabbed in the neck with steel rod.
  • Point 158: When the noise outside the main gate area of Bandaar Koshi became very loud, members of the military who were waiting to meet with the president ran towards the main gate assuming that people were trying to force their way into the military headquarters.
  • Point 163: From here onwards police released a lot of gas. A large number of the military and public at Republic Square dispersed from the area as a result. The way the wind was blowing that day, all the gas travelled south towards Bandaar Koshi. Shortly afterwards, the police moved forward spraying tear gas as they approached. The police and the public threw at the military anything they could get their hands on. The confrontation on both sides was intense and the public, military and the police sustained varying degrees of injuries.
  • Point 164: Public and the police confronted the military and pushed them back as far as their main headquarters. As the military retreated, they were firing riot guns.
  • Point 165: Once most of the military on retreat had entered the headquarters, the main gates were shut. Some members of the military could not get in and had to remain outside.
  • Point 166: Police and public were throwing bottles and various other things in the whole area. Chairs and various other household equipment were also thrown onto the streets and into the Bandaara Koshi from within the building.
  • Point 167: Windows on the first floor of the military headquarters were opened and shields were distributed to military personnel and the public.
  • Point 168: All areas near the Republic Square were brought under police control. The area was under the supervision of the police and the public.
  • Point 170: Cabinet Secretariat notified all cabinet members via SMS, except Vice President, that the cabinet meeting was on that day. Although the Vice President’s secretariat was aware of the meeting, Dr Waheed did not receive the message. Two senior members of the Vice President’s secretariat did not report for work that day.
  • Point 207: Media reports reported members of the public at the Republic Square as saying President Nasheed had been arrested.
  • Point 210: After Abdulla Riyaz and Nazim conducted their negotiations inside Bandaara Koshi, Nazim emerged to address the Republic Square. He said he had made two proposals.
    “Assalaam alaikum. I hope everybody is okay. Yes, I have just met with the Defence Minister and all high-ranking military personnel and made a proposal of ours. The proposal was that the President should resign without condition. And, after that, to transfer all powers to the Vice President. Our second condition was that the Commissioner of Police Ahmed Faseeh and both his deputies resign at once. We told them these are non-negotiable conditions. These are not things up for further discussion. We assure the beloved Maldivians, military and police who are with us that, God willing, these things will happen this way by the deadline we have set for 1:30 today. When I entered the military headquarters I was given a very happy scene. Everyone within the military lifted me up and very completely revealed their support for me. God willing, things will happen today as we want. I ask the military, police and people to patiently remain with us.”
  • Point 228: Minister of Defence and National Security, Minister of Finance, Minister of Transport and Communication, Special Envoy to the President, Chief of Staff at the President’s Office, and Cabinet Secretary were in attendance [at the cabinet meeting].
  • Point 229: At the meeting the President said he had to resign and gave his reasons. He said under the circumstances he saw it best to resign.
  • Point 232: While he was at the Ghaazee Maalam, Nazim, Fayaz and Riyaz also came in.
  • Point 233: Nazim told President Nasheed that Speaker of Parliament Abdulla Shahid had enquired after the resignation letter President Nasheed was sending to the Majlis.
  • Point 234: President Nasheed asked the Cabinet Secretary about the resignation letter who replied that it had not yet been prepared. The president asked him to bring a pen and paper. When the President’s official Letterhead paper and a pen were brought, President Nasheed wrote the resignation letter in his own hand and signed it. He was standing at a podium in the room.
  • Point 236: President Nasheed announced his resignation himself, in the presence of the cabinet members, in front of the media, live, at 12:57 p.m.
    “Beloved citizens of the Maldives. I see that if I were to continue as President of the Maldives a lot of harm may befall Maldivians and the Maldives. Therefore, as of today, I am resigning from the post of the President of the Maldives. I have never wanted to rule by force. I came to this decision because, in my opinion, I sincerely believe, that if this government is to be maintained, it would require the use of extreme force and cause harm to a lot of citizens. Also, in my opinion, if attempts are to be made to maintain this government, it is very likely that the Maldives will become susceptible to foreign influences. I have always wished the best for Maldivians and will continue to do so in the future. I have made the decision today to resign for the benefit of Maldivians, with sincere respect and keeping in mind the high levels of support Maldivians have shown me. I hope that Maldivians will see a more prosperous tomorrow and I pray our lives will be good now and in the hereafter.”
  • Point 241: Before he left, the military arranged a three-line strong cordon to reinforce security in the area.
  • Point 242: Riyaz and Nazim accompanied President Nasheed. Riyaz had the President’s resignation letter in his hand at the time.
  • Point 244: Speaker of the Parliament received President Nasheed’s resignation letter at 13:43.