U.N. official urges restraint in Maldives

Feb. 10, 2012 at 6:05 AM

MALE, Maldives, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- All sides in Maldives must exercise restraint, a U.N. official urged upon arrival at the troubled Indian Ocean island nation.

Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, the United Nations assistant secretary-general for political affairs, spoke to reporters in the capital Male where tensions remained high after the country's democratically elected President Mohamed Nasheed was ousted earlier this week.

Fernandez-Taranco planned to have talks with Nasheed as well as the newly sworn-in President Mohammed Waheed Hassan, other government leaders, representatives of political parties and civil society groups, a U.N. spokesman said.

The U.N. official said his visit was aimed at encouraging Maldivian leaders to find ways of stabilizing the political situation on their own.

He said there should be no violence or any action that would further exacerbate the differences. He stressed it was critical to avoid retributive acts against political rivals and to ensure the continued safety of Nasheed.

Fernandez-Taranco said the United Nations would support a process of dialogue. He stressed the importance of preserving the democratic gains made since the first multiparty presidential elections in 2008 when Nasheed became president.

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