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The Maldives

Volume 515: debated on Tuesday 14 September 2010

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has been in regular contact with senior political figures in the Maldives during a difficult summer there and, in particular, during the recent political crisis; I last spoke to members of the Opposition and of the Government in the Maldives on 16 August. We continue to urge parties there to get over their difficulties and their conflicts with each other and not to lose the gains that have been made in democracy since the reforms of 2008.

I thank the Minister for that answer. Having spent a great deal of time in the Maldives helping to elect a democratically elected President—[Interruption.] Somebody has to do it—[Interruption.]

It was great to see President Mohamed Nasheed elected as the first democratic President, and I was proud to be part of that. What practical help can we give the Maldives at this time of constitutional crisis?

As well as the informal contacts between parliamentarians, which I am sure bolster a great deal of support in the Maldives, we give practical support through our bilateral programme. We give support to police reform, to civic and electoral voter advice, to media training and to counter-radicalisation work. The Commonwealth is also interested in providing support for judicial and constitutional reform. It may assist stability in the Maldives if a lengthy fact-finding visit were made by a British Minister and, reluctantly, I am prepared to put myself forward for that, should the occasion arise.