Male, Feb 11: Joining countries like India to help defuse the political crisis in the Maldives, a top US diplomat on Saturday held talks with ousted President Mohammed Nasheed and his successor Mohammed Waheed Hassan to get the firsthand assessment of the situation.
Four days after 44-year-old Nasheed was "forced" to step down, US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Robert Blake met him and gathered information about recent political developments in the Indian ocean nation.
As Nasheed held talks with Blake at a hotel near the Indian High Commission here, hundreds of his supporters, including women, stood outside in a show of solidarity. The meeting between the two at the Traders Hotel, where Blake is staying, lasted for half-an-hour.
Though there was no security personnel at the scene earlier, around 15 policemen arrived soon after the meeting began. As Nasheed came out of the hotel, his supporters clapped and shouted slogans. He walked back to his home situated nearby.
Later, Blake met new President Hassan, who was Nasheed's deputy just four days ago. The US diplomat's meetings came a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's special envoy M Ganapathi conveyed India's willingness to assist in early installation of a national unity government in the Indian Ocean atoll during his talks with Nasheed and Hassan here.
Hassan is understood to have assured India that he would not indulge in a witch-hunt while dealing with Nasheed, who was the first democratically-elected President of Maldives.