Ousted Maldives leader to hold U.S. talks
Mohamed Nasheed hopes to encourage the U.S. to more actively seek democratic elections in the country that removed him from office.
Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Mohamed Nasheed speaks at his residence in the capital island Male on Feb. 9. (Photo: Ishara S.Kodikara/AFP)
WASHINGTON — The United States said that senior officials met with the ousted leader of Maldives on March 30 and urged restraint from all sides after he appealed for stronger U.S. support.
Mohamed Nasheed, in the United States for a new film on his battle against climate change, voiced dismay at U.S. policy as he made an unusual appearance on March 28 on the widely watched "Late Show with David Letterman."
"The United States enjoyed excellent relations with Mr. Nasheed and his administration, and we particularly appreciate Mr. Nasheed's strong leadership on climate change and international human rights issues," the State Department said in a written response to a reporter's question.
"The United States continues to call for restraint by all sides to prevent possible violence, to allow parliament to operate unhindered and to use Maldivian democratic institutions to resolve differences peacefully," it said.
Nasheed became Maldives' first democratically elected leader following multi-party elections in October 2008. He stepped down last month after what he said was a coup by some 300 soldiers backed by Islamic radicals, local businessmen and supporters of former strongman Maumoon Abdul Gayoom's regime.
The documentary "The Island President," completed before Nasheed's ouster, traces his efforts to rally for action on climate change that he fears could submerge his low-lying archipelago in a matter of years, turning the population into environmental refugees.
On his television appearance, Nasheed urged greater U.S. action to curb carbon emissions and also said he was "shocked" by initial U.S. statements of recognition for the government after his resignation.
Nasheed acknowledged that the United States backtracked from its initial acceptance of the new Maldives government, but said: "We hope that they would more robustly assist us in trying to get the elections done there."
The new administration of President Mohamed Waheed says an early vote is not possible unless all parties agree to amend the constitution.
Copyright 2012 AFP American Edition