Maldives' Jumhoorie Party Regrets Riza's Anti-India Remarks

The Jumhoorie Party, whose leader and a key presidential aide dubbed Indian envoy Dnyaneshwar Mulay a "traitor" and "an enemy of Maldives", today distanced itself from his remarks, saying it was against diplomatic protocol and that the party regrets it.

"During the rally on November 9, the statements made by this party's council member, Abbas Adil Riza, was not approved by any organ of the Party," said Gasim Ibrahim, a top leader of the Jumhoorie Party.

"It is something which cannot be said against diplomats and is against diplomatic protocol. We regret and condemn whatever he said in the rally," he said in a signed statement posted on the Party's website.

Addressing the rally on Friday night, Riza, a political appointee, said, "A diplomat's job is to work for his country and people and not to protect the interests of one private company."

"He (Mulay) is a traitor and enemy of Maldives and Maldivian people. We don't want these kind of diplomats on our soil," Riza had said striking an aggressive posture at the rally organised in protest against the leasing of Ibrahim Nasir International Airport to Indian infrastructure major GMR by ex-President Mohamed Nasheed's regime.

In a damage-control exercise later, a statement posted on the official website of Maldives President Mohamed Waheed said the government of Maldives disassociates itself from the remarks made by Riza as it did not reflect the views of the government.

In a statement, the Indian High Commission said Mulay has condemned the remarks of Riza, asserting they were "against diplomatic protocol".

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