Ranjan Mathai in Maldives for second time

Male: With just two days left for the crucial Parliament session to begin here, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai arrived here today on an unannounced visit to hold meetings with various stakeholders.

This is his second visit here following the political unrest that sieged the country early this month following a regime change. Official sources said Mathai arrived here in the afternoon and is likely to go back on Wednesday morning.

The Foreign Secretary during his earlier visit on February 15, had helped broker a deal between the political parties here on the issue of early elections.

Sources had earlier said that India was willing to offer any assistance, if asked for, for holding elections in the country that had witnessed political unrest following the resignation of Mohammed Nasheed as President on February 7.

Noting that the People`s Majlis (Parliament) is scheduled to meet on March 1, official sources had said they hoped "some sort of understanding, some sort of arrangement among the parties on not only on the date of elections but also for cooperation on the floor of Parliament that will pave the way for Constitution amendment" would be worked out by then.

Mathai`s visit also comes in the backdrop of Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dunya Maumoon, Home Minister Mohamed Jameel Ahmed and President`s spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza saying that the present government, headed by Mohammed Waheed, did not give assurance to any country or organisation regarding early polls.

Meanwhile, fresh from his first official visit outside the capital to Addu atoll, President Waheed said that he will deliver the Presidential address to open the Majlis despite objection raised by Nasheed.

Waheed also said that the damage caused to the infrastructure in Addu City during the February 8 violence will be more than 200 million Maldivian Rufiyaa (USD 14 million). He said the damage to the courts will affect many as all the legal documents regarding house properties were damaged.