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‘Stop being stubborn, mend ties with neighbours’, Maldives president Muizzu told after debt relief appeal to India

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NEW DELHI: Former Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has urged incumbent President Mohamed Muizzu to stop being “stubborn” and prioritize dialogue to address financial challenges and foster relations with neighbouring countries.
Solih’s comments follow Muizzu’s recent appeal to India for debt relief, sparking discussions about the nation’s financial strategies and geopolitical ties.
Muizzu, 45, succeeded Solih, 62, in the presidential election last September. Speaking at a Male event to support the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) parliamentary candidates, Solih emphasized the need for cooperative engagement with neighboring nations. He highlighted the misrepresentation of financial realities, pointing out that despite owing more to China, Muizzu sought debt restructuring discussions with India.
“However, I am confident that our neighbours will help. We must stop being stubborn and seek dialogue. There are many parties that can help us. But he [Muizzu] doesn’t want to compromise. I feel they [the government] are starting to understand the situation only now,” Solih said.
Muizzu’s stance on India has been contentious, with bilateral relations worsening since his assumption of office. His call for the withdrawal of Indian military personnel further strained ties, despite his subsequent claims of maintaining positive relations. Recent reports indicate Muizzu’s conciliatory approach towards India ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections.
Despite Muizzu’s visit to China earlier this year, traditional diplomatic protocols suggest that the first overseas visit for Maldivian presidents is to India. Muizzu’s delayed visit has raised eyebrows, especially given India’s historical significance as a close ally.
(With agency inputs)

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