Hands Off Maldives Says Sri Lanka
By Raisa Wickrematunge
The Sri Lankan government wants the international community to keep its hands off the Maldives and let the Maldives deal with its own issues, the External Affairs Ministry said.
The position of the government was decided upon following a government meeting held on Friday, Deputy External Affairs Minister Neomal Perera told The Sunday Leader.
Meanwhile IGP N. K. Illangakoon said the police is providing security to the wife of former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed.
Illangakoon confirmed he was instructed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to provide security for Nasheed’s wife after she fled to Sri Lanka when the Maldivian President was asked to step down last week. Several police personnel joined protesters demanding the Maldivian President, known as a human rights campaigner, to step down.
Nasheed resigned on Tuesday saying he wanted to avoid violence. He later reportedly claimed that he was forced to step down at gunpoint.
An order was issued to arrest Nasheed, which has since been suspended. It was reported that President Mahinda Rajapaksa telephoned Nasheed to inquire about his safety.
Illangakoon said that the police had been called upon to protect Nasheed’s wife, although it was as yet unclear whether she was facing a security threat in Sri Lanka.
In the meantime, a group of about 20 protestors gathered outside the Maldivian High Commission at Melbourne Avenue on Friday in support of President Nasheed. The protest was not violent, with the protestors merely waving slogans, a spokesman at the Maldivian High Commission said.
Illangakoon said he could not comment on whether the Maldivian President himself was planning to fly to Sri Lanka in the near future.