Male, Feb 12(ANI): A senior U.S. official has said that both Maldives President Mohammed Waheed Hassan and his predecessor Mohamed Nasheed should avoid violence in the stand- off for control of the Maldives' government.
"It's very important for the U.S. that all parties exercise restraint and refrain from violence," The Wall Street Journal quoted U.S. assistant secretary of state for South Asia and Central Asia, Robert Blake, as saying.
His statement came after scores of Nasheed's supporters have been injured in clashes with police over the past week in Male and outlying islands.
Nasheed claimed that he was forced out in an armed coup and has called for Manik, his former vice president, to step down and for immediate presidential elections.
Manik denies there was a coup and has rebuffed the call for polls, which aren't scheduled until 2013.
Blake alleged that there were reports of "quite serious violations of human rights" commited by police against Nasheed's supporters in a southern island Addu, including beatings and detention without access to legal representation.
He added that armed forces "need to restore their credibility with the Maldivian people."
He added there also were reports of violence and destruction of property by Nasheed's loyalists, who have taken to the streets in large numbers in Male for his reinstatement.
He said the U.S. was pushing for the formation of a unity government, with the participation of Nasheed's Maldivian Democratic Party.
He called on the coalition to improve the capacity of the judiciary, police and election commission to ensure elections can be held in an orderly manner, perhaps later this year.
The U.S., which has helped train the country's defense forces, has a strategic interest in a stable Maldives since the latter is located on busy shipping lanes. (ANI)
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