Maldives Envoy Reveals: India Was First Stop For Visit, But We Were Declined Dates

| February 9 , 2018 , 10:01 IST

The on-going crisis in the Maldives which was heightened by the island nation's President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom declaring a 15-day 'State of Emergency' on February 5, witnessed both the current and former Maldivian Presidents reaching out to India.

While former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed, currently in exile reached out India for military intervention, the current president, Yameen reportedly proposed that a special envoy visiting 'friendly countries' first visit India.

On Thursday, the Yameen Abdul Gayoom had announced that it was sending special envoys to 3 "friendly countries" China, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, with India conspicuously missing from the list.

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An official statement by the Maldives Embassy on Friday said that the first stop of the special envoy had actually been planned for India but had to be cancelled due on the request of the Indian government, citing unavailability of dates.

"The first stop of special envoy of the President was India. Foreign Minister of Maldives Dr Mohamed Asim, the designated special envoy of the President was scheduled for 8th February 2018, to India but the visit was cancelled on the request of the Government of India," said the statement.

Indian government sources confirmed that a request had been made for a special envoy's visit on February 7 but had to be cancelled.

"With external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj in Saudi Arabia and Prime Minister Narendra Modi Modi leaving for a three-nation tour, we had scheduling difficulties," source said to Times of India.

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Apart from scheduling difficulties, India reportedly disapproves of the Yameen government's refusal to heed to the Maldivian Supreme Court's directives on freeing political prisoners, including Opposition lawmakers.

Although most of the international committee is urging for the Maldives to abide by the judiciary, China has spoken out saying that there should be no outside intervention in the internal matters of the Maldives.

The French foreign ministry also expressed its concerns on the situation in the Maldives in a statement.

"France is concerned by the suspension of public freedoms and by the arrests that took place following the declaration of the state of emergency in the Maldives. We call for a swift return to the normal functioning of the institutions and for respect for the rule of law," the statement said.