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Trump, Modi express concern over Maldives

10 February 2018

US President Donald Trump has spoken to Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi over the phone, the White House said in a statement today.

In their review of the South Asia and Indo-Pacific regions, the statement said: "Both leaders expressed concern about the political crisis in Maldives and the importance of respect for democratic institutions and rule of law".

While the crisis in the Maldives "seemed to be the point of the call" on Thursday, according to the Hindustan Times, little on the issue was included in the readout, except that the two leaders "expressed concern".

The two leaders also discussed the plight of Myanmar's Rohingya refugees.

After the Supreme Court overturned the terrorism conviction of former President Mohamed Nasheed as well as the convictions of eight other politicians on several charges, Yameen clamped down the emergency. Washington recently cut aid to Pakistan, India's nuclear-armed neighbor and arch-rival, over accusations it failed to root out Taliban and Haqqani network militants that have contributed to the long-running war in Afghanistan. Maldives' Supreme Court Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and another judge, Ali Hameed, were arrested hours after Yameen declared a state of emergency.

He also put Islamabad on notice for harbouring terrorists, and followed it up last month by withholding security assistance to Pakistan estimated at over $1 billion.

"President Yameen has systematically alienated his coalition, jailed or exiled every major opposition political figure, [and] deprived elected Members of Parliament of their right to represent their voters in the legislature", a statement from the US State Department said.

Modi and Trump also spoke about North Korea and its nuclear programme.

Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj met with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in October in New Delhi and defended India's ties with Pyongyang, saying some level of diplomatic presence was necessary to keep open channels of communication.

Trump, Modi express concern over Maldives