Maldives party ‘regrets’ bribe slur against Indian envoy

A day after Maldives apologised to India over a remark by its spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza accusing the Indian envoy in Male of receiving 'bribe' from the GMR Infrastructure, Riza's party also 'condemned' and 'regreted' his comments.

India had protested against Riza's comment and the Maldives Presient's office had apologised over the incident.

Riza belongs to the small Jamhoorie Party headed by a businessman called Gasim Ibrahim. The party issued a statement on Sunday evening that read,"During the rally on November 9, the statements made by this party's council member, Abbas Adil Riza, was not approved by any organ of the Party. It is something which cannot be said against diplomats and is against the diplomatic protocol. We regret and condemn whatever he said in the rally."

Incidentally, Gasim Ibrahim had also bid for the Male airport project and had lost the contract to GMR Infrastructure. He has been bitterly opposing the GMR contract for the international airport in the island nation.

On Sunday, pro-government Dhivehi Rayyithunge party (DRP) also condemned the allegations made by Riza. Speaking during the rally held by the Civil Coalition against Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) operator GMR on Friday night, Riza had alleged that Indian High Commissioner D M Mulay had been bribed by the Indian company and said that the Indian envoy would have to leave the country the same day GMR is ousted.

In a statement DRP said on Sunday that Riza's speech is "against the international diplomatic protocols and could undermine the long existing relations between India and Maldives." The statement read that "DRP believes that diplomatic rows must be resolved diplomatically."

DRP insisted that the president and government of Maldives should apologize to Mulay for this "irresponsible act" by the government spokesperson. GMR Infrastructure's airport development project in Maldives is caught in a political tussle since February this year after the Mohammed Nasheed-led government, which had granted the contract to GMR, was unseated by a dispensation led by Mohammed Waheed. The Waheed government now claims that it would renationalise the airport given away to GMR, a private foreign player.

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