Amid international pressure over imprisonment of opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed, Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen on Sunday bluntly told External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj that his government will not tolerate that ‘foreign parties’ interfere in domestic issues.
The assertion was made by Yameen when Swaraj called on him on Sunday during her visit to the island nation during which the two nations restarted the Joint Commission talks after a hiatus of 15 years.
“President Yameen stated that this Government will not tolerate foreign parties to interfere with the country’s domestic issues, and underscored that a country’s integrity and national sovereignty must be respected by all,” his office said in a statement. A statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs on Swaraj’s visit to the Maldives, however, made no mention of this.
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The statement issued by the Maldivian President’s office said, “He (Yameen) also stated that every country must be able to practice their democracy without foreign influence. The President noted that the stability of any government in this region was of utmost importance to the other countries.” Yameen, however, made no reference to the controversial conviction of former president Nasheed and his jailing for 13 years on terrorism charges.
The US and others have strongly criticised his trial with a UN panel ruling last month that Nasheed’s jailing was illegal and that he should be freed immediately.
In his meeting with Swaraj, Yameen reiterated that his government is committed to upholding democracy and rule of law. Noting that this year would mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Maldives and India, Yameen expressed his gratitude to the Indian government for always being a close and reliable friend to the Maldives.
He thanked the Indian government for its continuous support to the Maldives in the international arena, and in all areas of development, the statement said. The President reassured Swaraj of his government’s commitment to strengthening the Indo-Maldives relations.