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Maldives back Saudi Arabia amid international crisis

Opposition leader Nasheed is under fire for accepting an invitation to visit the kingdom.



The Maldivian government has reaffirmed solidarity with Saudi Arabia amid international outrage over the suspected killing of a journalist inside the kingdom’s consulate in Turkey.

“The Government of Maldives strongly rejects any attempts to undermine the sovereignty of any country, whether by threatening to impose sanctions or by putting political pressure towards reaching a political objective,” reads a statement released Monday by the foreign ministry.

It expressed support for Saudi Arabia’s warning against threats of economic sanctions over the disappearance of Jamal Kashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who was critical of the powerful crown prince.

Saudi Arabia denies that Kashoggi was murdered as concluded by Turkish officials.

“The Government of Maldives is confident that the Government of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is fully committed to the principles of rule of law and are in compliance with international laws and conventions,” it added.

Since the outgoing administration of President Abdulla Yameen fostered closer ties with Riyadh, the Maldives has taken Saudi Arabia’s side in international disputes, severing ties with its rivals Qatar and Iran.

Meanwhile, on Monday night, former president Mohamed Nasheed travelled to Riyadh at the invitation of King Salman bin Abdulaziz.

The de facto leader of the Maldivian Democratic Party was expected to meet Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman during a one-day visit.

The visit comes after the MDP-led coalition’s decisive victory over Yameen in the September 23 election. The joint opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih is due to take the oath of office on November 17.

Both Nasheed and the MDP have come under fire over their silence on the Khasoggi disappearance. He was urged to decline the invitation and join the calls for a credible investigation.