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Maldives' Nasheed asks India, US to help remove president

Updated:2018-02-07 10:44:29   CGTN

The exiled Maldives opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed called on the US and India Tuesday to help remove the country's president from office, saying he had "illegally" declared martial law.

"President Abdulla Yameen has illegally declared martial law and overrun the state. We must remove him from power. The people of the Maldives have a legitimate request to world governments, especially to India and the United States," Nasheed said in a statement released by his party in the Maldivian capital Male.

Read More: Trouble in paradise: What’s going on in the Maldives?

"We would like the Indian government to send an envoy, backed by its military, to free the judges and the political detainees."

Nasheed said he was calling for a "physical presence", making clear he wants India to send troops to the Maldives.

Nasheed, who went into exile after he was convicted on a controversial terrorism charge in 2015, also called on Washington to impose financial sanctions on the leaders of the ruling regime.

The United States said earlier it was "troubled and disappointed" at the declaration of a state of emergency and called on Yameen to comply with the rule of law.

Maldives' former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom waves as he leaves his residence after he was arrested in Male, Maldives, February 6, 2018, in this image taken from a video from social media. /Reuters Photo

Tourists told to stay away

The Maldives on Tuesday sought to reassure tourists they would be safe as governments warned their citizens to steer clear of the troubled honeymoon islands amid a spiraling political crisis.

Tourism is a key earner for the Maldives but a dramatic confrontation between Yameen and the security forces against the Supreme Court has further eroded its reputation as an idyllic atoll nation.

Government spokesman Ibrahim Hussain Shihab said no curfew had been declared and the safety of tourists in the upmarket holiday paradise was assured.

The government would "facilitate calm at a time of national difficulty", he added.

China – the number-one source of tourists for the Maldives – has urged its citizens against visiting the Indian Ocean nation.

"Chinese citizens are advised to avoid going to the Maldives until the situation on the ground is stabilized," Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said at the regular press conference on Monday.

India and France and other European nations also advised its citizens against non-essential travel.

The United States advised caution, warning of further protests in coming days across the capital Male "in response to emerging political developments".

Maldives, honeymoon islands /Reuters Photo‍

"You should avoid areas of demonstrations and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations," the US embassy in Colombo said in its updated travel advice on Tuesday.

The airport is a short boat journey from the capital and many visitors are whisked away to resorts on remote, serene islands spread 800 kilometers (550 miles) across the equator.

Nearly 1.4 million foreigners visited the Maldives last year, up from 1.28 million the previous year.

(Cover Photo: Former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed poses for a photo following an interview with Associated Press in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. /AP Photo)

Editor: Wang Shixue

Keywords:   Maldives' India US