US Recognizes Maldives Government That Ousted Democratically Elected Nasheed

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Common Dreams

US Recognizes Maldives Government That Ousted Democratically Elected Nasheed

Political protests rock the island nation as ex-president faces 'life in jail'

by
Common Dreams staff

Ousted Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed is carried by his supporters during the Maldivian Democratic Party's meeting in Male. (Photo: Reuters)

The US government has recognized the new standing government in the Maldives just days after the nation's democratically elected president, Mohamed Nasheed, was ousted in a military coup.

Agence France-Presse reports:

The United States on Thursday recognized the new government of Maldives President Mohamed Waheed as legitimate and urged him to fulfill a pledge to form a national unity government.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland also said Robert Blake, the top US diplomat for south Asia, telephoned former president Mohamed Nasheed to tell him Washington backed a "peaceful resolution" of the crisis on the archipelago.

"We do," Nuland told reporters when asked if Washington recognizes the new government as the legitimate government of the Maldives. She called Waheed the president and Nasheed the former president.

Blake, the assistant secretary of state for south Asian affairs, will travel Saturday to the Maldives to meet with both Waheed and Nasheed, who charges he was ousted in a coup, as well as civil society.

Nasheed, according to reports, has been threatened with arrest and 'life in jail' just days after he was forced to resign at gunpoint by renegade police and military forces.  The Indian Ocean island has been in tumult since Nasheed's ouster and clashes continue in and around the major cities of Male and Addu.

Reuters reports today:

Mohamed Nasheed spoke to reporters at his home on a narrow lane in Male, capital of the islands renowned for their luxury getaway resorts, as rain poured and hundreds of onlookers gathered under umbrellas awaiting the arrival of police.

Nasheed, the islands' first democratically elected president, appeared to be daring the government led by his former vice president, Mohamed Waheed Hussain Manik, to arrest him after violent protests on Wednesday spread outside Male.

"The home minister has pledged (I will be) the first former president to spend all my life in jail," said Nasheed, who was relaxed and smiling and showed no signs of his reported beating on Wednesday.

He said he hoped the international community would act quickly as "the facts on the ground are that tomorrow I will be in jail".

However, there was no sign of the police by early evening. Police Commissioner Abdullah Riyaz, when asked by Reuters if and when a warrant would be served, declined to comment.

And Agence France-Presse reported earlier:

The mayor of the Maldives' second-largest city Addu spoke Thursday of a total law and order "breakdown" following a night of violence that saw police stations attacked and torched.

"There's no law and order at all. It's a complete breakdown," Addu City Mayor Abdulla Sodig told AFP by phone, saying his wrist had been fractured when he was beaten up by a group of people who attacked him in his office.

Sodig said police were absent from the city streets, while troops from a nearby military base were focused on protecting Gan Airport -- a major conduit for foreign tourists travelling from the capital Male to luxury resort islands.

With 32,000 residents, Addu is the second-largest city in the Maldives after Male.

Violence erupted in the Maldives on Wednesday in the wake of the resignation of president Mohamed Nasheed, who later said he had been ousted in a "coup" orchestrated by opposition leaders backed by the police and army.

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