European Union Expects Maldives Government To Engage In Talks With Opposition Leaders

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Dubai [U.A.E.], February 05 (ANI): In a big blow to democracy and civilian rule in the Maldives, President Mohammed Yameen (give full name) has put the army on alert and refused to follow the orders of the Supreme Court to reinstate sacked 12 opposition Members if Parliament or allow the release of other detained prisoners.

Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and another judge, Ali Hameed, were arrested hours after Yameen declared a state of emergency yesterday. "Furthermore, the nation is heading for a dictatorship as the acting police commissioner, the chief of the defence forces and the attorney general have said they will not abide by the court's orders".

"Indian nationals are, therefore, advised to defer all non-essential travels to Male and other atolls until further notice".

India's sway has been on the wane in the Maldives after Nasheed - the country's first democratically elected President and perceived as close to New Delhi - was ousted in a coup in 2012.

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China, the US, India and the United Kingdom are among those issuing warnings to travellers in the Maldives.

For their part, India and the U.S. said they were "concerned" and troubled by the emergency decree, while the United Nations, the European Union, the United Kingdom and Germany urged Yameen to lift it and restore civil liberties.

With Maldives in turmoil+ following a face off between the government and its Supreme Court, India is expected to follow a standard operating procedure (SOP) that includes keeping the troops in readiness, government sources indicated on Tuesday.

The European Union has said that it expects the Maldivian government to engage in inclusive dialogue with the leaders of all political parties to pave way for "transparent and credible" polls, amid a face-off between the government and the Supreme Court.

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He was also president between 1978 to 2008 when the Maldives, which relies on tourism, became a multi-party democracy.

President Yameen has accused judges of plotting to overthrow him and said the emergency is to investigate this plot.

His emergency powers also allow him to search and seize property on the honeymoon island and restrict freedom of assembly, with soldiers in riot gear deployed to prevent parliamentary meetings. The Yameen government refused to implement the ruling, prompting a wave of protests in Maldives capital, Male.

The government of President Yameen Abdul Gayoom has moved to assert its power since the Supreme Court ordered several imprisoned opposition politicians to be freed late last week.

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