By Arul Louis,
United Nations : The UN will be making contacts with Maldives leaders in response to the request by the opposition leaders for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to oversee the all-party talks proposed by that nation’s President Abdulla Yameen, Guterres’s Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said on Friday.
“We are very aware of the request,” he told reporters when asked about the opposition’s letter to Guterres. “Contacts will be made in the next few days.”
Taking up the Secretary-General on his offer to have the UN facilitate all-party talks, the Joint Opposition wrote to Guterres asking for the mediation between them and the government of President Abdulla Yameen.
Earlier this month Guterres, who called for restoration of democracy on the Indian Ocian nation, reiterated “his belief in finding a solution to the political stalemate in the Maldives through all-party talks, which the United Nations continues to stand ready to facilitate,” according to Dujarric.
In the letter to Guterres, the Joint Opposition led by former President Mohamed Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party welcomed the government’s offer of a dialogue in principle, but expressed concern that it was a ploy to ease international condemnation over its recent actions, according to the Colombo Gazette.
The opposition asked Guterres to urge the Maldives government to create an acceptable environment for dialogue.
The Gazette reported that according to the opposition, for this to happen the government must fully implement the Supreme Court ruling of February 1, and release Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed, Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed and other political prisoners and withdraw the military from Parliament allowing it to function fully.
The crackdown began when the Supreme Court unanimously overturned the terrorism conviction of Nasheed as well as the convictions of eight other politicians on several charges.
Yameen clamped down a state of emergency and arrested the judges along with several politicians.
The other three judges left on the Supreme Court overturned their unanimous ruling ordering the release of the nine politicians.
(Arul Louis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)