US Assistant Secretary Blake to travel to Maldives

US Assistant Secretary Blake to travel to Maldives

US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake will travel to Maldives to have a firsthand assessment of the current crisis in the island nation which is undergoing political upheaval.

"Assistant Secretary Blake has decided that he will add a stop in Male, Capital of the Maldives, to his upcoming trip to the region. He'll be there on Saturday, February 11th, en route also to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh as planned," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters.

The State Department spokesperson expressed concern over the current situation in Maldives wherein violent clashes are being reported after former President Mohamed Nasheed claimed that he was forced to resign at gun point.

"We have obviously seen the statement from President Nasheed. As I said to you yesterday, Assistant Secretary Blake was in contact with President (Mohammed) Waheed. His view of events obviously differs," the spokesperson said.

"I think the thing that is concerning today is whereas we had calm on the streets yesterday, we have had some less than peaceful incidents in the Maldives," she said.
"So that is concerning, and we are urging the government and the political parties to work together to resolve the situation peacefully, and we're continuing to monitor the situation," Nuland said in response to a question.

Noting that the US is talking to all parties, Nuland said Blake will have a chance to be there and talk to everybody on Saturday.

"But in the interim, we are urging calm, we are urging dialogue, we are urging President Waheed, as you know, has committed to forming a national unity government, and we think that will also be an important signal to political factions across the Maldives," she said.

President Waheed, the former vice president, was sworn in on Tuesday when Mohamed Nasheed resigned after police joined widening street protests against his government.