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Maldives' president sends envoys to Pakistan, China and Saudi for support


REUTERS
MALE
The embattled president of the Maldives has sent envoys to friendly nations such as China, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to brief them on a political crisis in the Indian Ocean nation that spurred the imposition of a state of emergency, his office said.
Abdulla Yameen left out key regional power India, which had joined Britain, the United States and the United Nations in calling for the lifting of the emergency and the freeing of two supreme court judges whose ruling against Yameen sparked new instability.
The Maldives, best known for luxury tourist resorts, has become another arena of contest for India and China after it signed up to Beijing's Belt and Road initiative to build trade and transport links across Asia and beyond.
India, which has had longstanding political and security ties to the islands about 400 km (250 miles) away, has sought to push back against China's expanding presence in the country of 400,000 people, most of them Muslims. Since the crisis erupted, Maldivian opposition leaders have urged New Delhi to intervene.
Yameen sent his economic development minister, Mohamed Saeed, to China, the foreign minister, Mohamed Asim, to Pakistan and farming and fisheries minister Mohamed Shainee to Saudi Arabia, according to a posting on his website late on Wednesday.
"Members of the cabinet, on the direction of President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, will visit friendly nations of the Maldives and provide updates on the current situation," it added.
The government wanted to send a special envoy to India as well, but the dates were not suitable for the Indian foreign ministry, said Ahmed Mohamed, the Maldives' ambassador to India.

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