Don't falter, U.N. tells Maldives

Feb. 14, 2012 at 9:15 AM

MALE, Maldives, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- The Maldives can't afford to let a political crisis and instability undermine its national commitment to democracy, a U.N. official said.

U.N. Assistant Secretary-General Oscar Fernandez-Taranco wrapped up a five-day tour of Maldives after the country's former president was ousted in an apparent coup.

Fernandez-Taranco said that while there was "considerable controversy" over events in Maldives, the rule of law and commitments to democratic governance must prevail.

"The Maldives cannot afford a descent into violence and protracted instability that would jeopardize the progress achieved by the country since 2008 and its economic future," he said in a statement.

Mohamed Nasheed beat long-time incumbent President Maoumoon Abdul Gayoom in 2008 in the country's first democratic election.

Nasheed resigned, allegedly at gun point, last week.

Fernandez-Taranco said there were "no external solutions" to the crisis in the island nation, adding all sides should sit down to find a peaceful solution.

"There is an urgent need for all sides concerned to come to an agreement on forming a government, based on the principle of inclusiveness and national unity, and reach a consensus on the way forward," he said.

Nasheed had called for new elections, though his successor, Mohammed Hassan, said the country was too divided for a snap election.

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