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'Do not rule out foreign hand's role in Male crisis'

Source: PTI
December 05, 2012 17:10 IST
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Male International AirportDays after it was unceremoniously thrown out of Maldives airport project, GMR Infrastructure said on Wednesday involvement of a foreign country in Island nation's decision cannot be ruled out.

"I can't say that for sure. But, looking at the political situation and political framework in Maldives, I can't rule out anything," GMR Airports CFO Sidharth Kapur told reporters in New Delhi.

He was responding to a query that whether GMR saw involvement of a foreign country like China in cancellation of its over $500 million contract to build and operate the Male airport.

Kapur, however, did not elaborate on the possibility of the involvement of foreign nation.

Maldives has refused to abide by a Singapore court decision that stayed the termination of GMR contract, and has said it will go ahead with its decision to takeover the airport by Friday.

GMR has so far refused to take Maldives' bait of compensation for the cancellation, saying it was in the nation for operating the airport and not for compensation.

Asked whether the company would appeal to the International Court of Justice, Kapur said, "We expect and appeal to Maldives government to honour international law."

GMR, he said, was still hopeful of an 'amicable solution' to the crisis, but maintained that repeated attempts to get in touch with the Maldivian President are yet to elicit any response.

Kapur said the company was thankful for India's support to it since the beginning of the crisis and hoped New Delhi will 'take everything possible from their

armoury to ensure that something amicable comes out.'

Asked whether the company tried to reach out to the main Opposition in Maldives, he said, "We have tried to speak to everybody so far. We are completely committed to the project."

GMR's problem over the Male airport started following the Maldivian government's termination of GMR's 25-year contract, which the company termed as 'arbitrary'.

Maldives government has also directed GMR to hand over the project by Friday midnight.

GMR, meanwhile, had secured a stay from Singapore High Court on the order, but Maldives termed its decision as 'non-reversible and non-negotiable'.

As per media reports, GMR could be evicted out of the airport project in case it does not vacate the airport after the deadline expires.

GMR Male International Airport's CEO Andrew Harrison, who also joined today's press conference over phone, however, said the island nations's Defence Minsitry has made it clear that no force would be used.

GMR is yet to calculate the compensation in case it has to go out prematurely from the project, Kapur said, adding Maldives Attorney General has calculated that at $700 million.

"However, it could much more than that.

"Compensation due to GMR due to the illegitimate cancellation of contract by GoM may put significant and avoidable financial burden on the people of Maldives," he added.

On the other hand, GMR consortium, he said, would give more than $2.5 billion to the Government of Maldives over the concession period.

"Moreover, the government will receive more than $1 billion through PSC, duties and royalties," Kapur said.

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