Senior UN official urges all sides in the Maldives to pursue dialogue

Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, told reporters in Malé, the capital, that he plans to hold meetings in the days ahead with the newly sworn-in President Mohammed Waheed Hassan, his predecessor Mohamed Nasheed, other Government leaders, representatives of political parties and civil society groups.Mr. Nasheed resigned on Tuesday following recent street protests and tensions between the Government and the military and police, and media reports have indicated a warrant has since been issued for his arrest.Mr. Fernandez-Taranco told reporters his visit was aimed at encouraging Maldivian leaders to find ways of stabilizing the political situation and to move forward on the basis of dialogue and consensus, according to information released by a UN spokesperson.He urged calm and a stop to all violence or any action that would further exacerbate differences, stressing that it was critical to avoid retribution against political rivals, and to ensure in particular the continued safety of Mr. Nasheed.Mr. Fernandez-Taranco said there can be no externally-generated solutions to the current political crisis in the Maldives, and that the UN stood ready to support a process of dialogue and consensus-building.The Assistant Secretary-General also underlined the importance of preserving the democratic gains that have been made in the Maldives, where multi-party presidential elections were held for the first time in 2008. 9 February 2012A senior United Nations official urged all sides in the Maldives to exercise restraint and pursue dialogue after he arrived in the Indian Ocean archipelago late today for talks, just days after the country’s president resigned amid mounting political tensions.