New US Ambassador to Maldives and Sri Lanka Michele J Sison has said that she was encouraged by the work of Leaders' Dialogue and stressed that it has the potential to bring real progress as the country moves towards the next round of elections
Speaking during the first press conference held by the new US Ambassador at the Traders Hotel today, she revealed that during the brief meetings held with government and political leaders this morning she had encouraged all parties to engage in positive and productive dialogue that respects the fundamentals of the Maldivian constitution.
She further expressed hope that the Leader's Dialogue initiated to seek political reconciliation after months of political turmoil in the small island nation paves the way for the continuation of the stalled work of the Parliament.
"I hope that the leaders dialogues smooths the way for the legislative agenda to move forward as there is important business at hand at the Parliament," she added.
The US Ambassador further expressed concern that the recent events has constricted the normal political life in the country. On that note she stressed that the work of the Parliament must be allowed to continue and the whole country should move forward in a productive manner.
Ambassador Sison also urged all political stakeholders to set aside differences and refrain from inflammatory actions and to focus on education, social and economic challenges facing the nation.
'We believe that now is the time we should encourage as friends of Maldives for all parties to work together through dialogue that charts a path for positive dialogue, respect for human rights and the will of the Maldivian people."
When asked of her impression on the report by the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) set up to probe the controversial circumstances surrounding the transfer of power on February 7, Ambassador Sisone reiterated the US statement issued following the release of the report that all stakeholders must respect the findings of the Commission.
"As you know, we have publicly welcomed the release of the report and commended the co-chairs for their leadership and commitment for a thorough and inclusive review process," Ambassador said.
"We have consistently called for all Maldivians to respect the findings and look forward to the implementation of the recommendation and to exercise restraint, to allow the continuation of vibrant political expression that already exists in the Maldives that must be channeled in a productive and non-violent manner."
In response to a question in relation to the alleged human rights violations by the Maldivian Police especially highlighted by the recent Amnesty International's report, Ambassador Sison stressed that any allegations of human rights abuses must be probed.
"I did take note of the Amnesty's findings and speaking generally any allegation of human rights abuses would be taken seriously. We would urge the host country authorities to conduct an independent and impartial investigation. Here in Maldives we will continue as a matter of general policy to urge everyone to follow rule of law and respect human rights.
The new US Ambassador is scheduled to accompany US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake on his trip to Maldives next Wednesday.