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Top US official to visit troubled Maldives

February 09, 2012 09:51 IST

United States Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake will travel to Maldives for a first-hand assessment of the current political crisis in the island nation.

"Assistant Secretary Blake has decided that he will add a stop in Male, capital of the Maldives, to his upcoming trip to the region. He will be there on Saturday, February 11, en route also to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh as planned," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters.

The State Department spokesperson expressed concern over the current situation in Maldives where violent clashes have been reported after former President Mohamed Nasheed claimed that he was forced to resign at gunpoint.

"We have obviously seen the statement from President Nasheed. As I said to you yesterday, Assistant Secretary Blake was in contact with President (Mohammed) Waheed. His view of events obviously differs," the spokesperson said.

"I think the thing that is concerning today is whereas we had calm on the streets yesterday, we have had some less than peaceful incidents in the Maldives," she said.

"So that is concerning, and we are urging the government and the political parties to work together to resolve the situation peacefully, and we are continuing to monitor the situation," Nuland said in response to a question.

Noting that the US is talking to all parties, Nuland said Blake will have a chance to be there and talk to everybody on Saturday.

"But in the interim, we are urging calm, we are urging dialogue. President Waheed, as you know, has committed to forming a national unity government, and we think that will also be an important signal to political factions across the Maldives," she said.

President Waheed, the former vice president, was sworn in on Tuesday when Mohamed Nasheed resigned after the police joined widening street protests against his government.

Lalit K Jha In Washington
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