Crisis over, Nasheed leaves India mission

FP

After 11 days of high drama and hectic diplomatic parleys, former Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed Saturday left the Indian High Commission in Male, where he was holed up to evade arrest.

It took four Indian interlocutors more than 50 meetings over five days in Male — some of them one-on-one to ensure confidentiality — to defuse the crisis. "Even some of the interlocutors who were opposed to Nasheed showed a lot of accommodative spirit in such a tense situation. There were some very difficult moments as well," a source told The Sunday Express.

The main point conveyed to the Maldivians was that polls without Nasheed would be difficult for India and the rest of world to recognise as "free, fair and credible".

Nasheed underlined this after he walked out. "I am hopeful I will be able to continue political activities and social life," he said. "I believe even on issues we disagree on, we can reach a compromise with the government."

The government welcomed the development and said there was no arrest warrant against Nasheed at present but President Mohamed Waheed's spokesperson Masood Imad took the opportunity to take a dig at India's role in the crisis. "I am happy that the longest meeting in world has ended. We were formally told by the High Commission on the first day that Nasheed had come into the mission for a meeting and will be out once it is over," he said.

India, on the other hand, maintained that Nasheed had entered its mission "on his own volition and similarly decided to leave on his own".

The crisis began on February 13 when Nasheed entered the mission to escape an arrest warrant that was issued after he failed to appear in court to face charges of detaining chief criminal judge Abdulla Mohamed during his rule.

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