x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Maldives seek end to political deadlock as US envoy arrives

President Mohamed Nasheed offered talks with his opposition rivals today to resolve a political deadlock in the troubled archipelago, as a top US official arrived to help find a solution.

COLOMBO // Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed offered talks with his opposition rivals today to resolve a political deadlock in the troubled archipelago, as a top US official arrived to help find a solution. "President Nasheed has said that the government is ready to hold talks with opposition parties to resolve the current political impasse," his office said in a statement. Nasheed's cabinet resigned en masse last month amid threats from the opposition to impeach them in parliament. The cabinet was then reappointed, but the ministers are yet to receive ratification by the legislature.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake arrived in the capital island Male on Thursday for a day of talks with the government, as well as opposition figures. The government continues to hold key opposition lawmakers in custody for alleged vote-buying in parliament, despite court orders for their release. Parliament speaker Abdulla Shahid suspended parliament sittings on Wednesday after opposition legislators demanded that lawmakers in custody be allowed to attend the assembly.

He said there had been moves by government and opposition parties in the last few days to find a way out of the "constitutional impasse." "So let there be talks to iron out things before parliament can resume," Shahid said before meeting Blake. Washington has been pressing Nasheed, who came to power in 2008 after the island's first multiparty election, to accept offers of international mediation to end the political deadlock.

* AFP