US envoy to visit Maldives

February 9th, 2012 - 11:45 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Feb 9 (IANS) A senior US envoy scheduled to tour South Asia will make a stop in the Maldives Saturday, as the island nation is grappling with violence after a new president was sworn in, the State Department said.

Robert Blake Jr., assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs, will add a stop in Male, capital of the Maldives, department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Wednesday, reported Xinhua.

She said Blake was in contact with new Maldivian President Mohamed Waheed, who took office Tuesday after his predecessor Mohamed Nasheed was ousted.

Nasheed, the country’s first democratically elected president in 2008, stepped down following three weeks of public protests, which were joined later by police at the Republic Square in Male.

Waheed announced Wednesday the formation of a coalition government including all the political parties. However, a new spate of violence erupted in Male, with protesters shouting slogans against Waheed and calling his appointment illegal and undemocratic.

“We’re 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 at a regular news briefing.

She said Blake will “talk to everybody” in Male, adding that “in the interim we’re urging calm, we’re urging dialogue”.

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