Maldives pres admits efforts to counter 'opposition led' int'l pressure

Maldives' embattled president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom on Monday admitted that his government has been forced to increase efforts to counter opposition led international pressure on the archipelago.

Speaking during a ceremony to inaugurate a new harbour in Shaviyani Atoll Kanditheemu island, president Yameen said he had dispatched a high-level delegation to meet top officials of the European Union (EU) recently to counter opposition efforts to convince the EU to impose sanctions against his government.

President Yameen alleged that the concerns shared by EU officials with his delegation were the same as the ones previously Tweeted by various opposition figures suggesting that the international community's narrative on the Maldives was being dictated by the country's globally well-connected opposition.

Maldives government has been facing mounting international pressure especially from the US and the West over the contentious jailing of opposition leaders and the restrictions on fundamental rights and liberties.

"Our delegations had been dispatched even last week to countries where we think most pressure would come from. During the discussions we found that they [international community] echo exactly what the opposition are saying. To force us to do something, or give up something through the help of powerful countries. Anyone thinking about the future of this country must consider what the opposition is trying to achieve," the president explained.

However, president Yameen insisted that the country's policies must be decided by the people and debated by the parliament.

"We must not change our policies because of outside influence or pressure," he stressed.

He also said Maldives must not yield to outside influence that contradicts the country's religious and cultural beliefs and principles.