COLOMBO — The government of the Maldives said Tuesday it has decided to sever 40-year-old diplomatic ties with Iran, saying the nation’s policies in the Middle East are detrimental to peace and security in the region.
The Maldives foreign ministry said in a statement that peace in the Middle East is also linked to the island nation’s own peace, stability and security.
The decision by the tiny Indian Ocean archipelago nation, whose population of 341,000 is predominantly Sunni Muslim, reflects its increasing closeness to Sunni-led Saudi Arabia, the long-time rival of Shiite-dominated Iran.
Last year, Saudi Arabia opened an embassy in the Maldives and has offered cash grants to the government and started negotiations on investments.
The Islamic Summit held last month in Turkey called on Iran to pursue a policy based on the principle of “good neighborliness, non-interference in their domestic affairs, respect for their independence and territorial sovereignty, (and) resolving differences by peaceful means in accordance with OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) and the UN Charters,” the foreign ministry statement said.
“The Maldives calls on Iran to show more commitment and tangible results in implementing the recommendations of the OIC,” it said.
Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic ties with Iran earlier this year after Iranians protesting the execution of a prominent Shiite cleric stormed Saudi diplomatic posts in Tehran and Mashhad.
Two held on charge of girls trafficking
BETRAWATI— Police have arrested two persons for their alleged involvement in trafficking five adolescent girls aged between 13 to 16 — to India.
The arrestees have been identified as Nirmal Biswakarma (23) of Bheriganga Municipality-12 of Surkhet and Bikas Pyakurel (20) of Chaughada in Likhu Rural Municipality-4 of Nuwakot.
The Surkhet Police had arrested Biswokarma from his home while rescuing the captive girls on Friday and produced him before court on Saturday.
Likewise, acting on the statement of the captive girls, police arrested Pyakurel from Battar Bazaar, Nuwakot on Sunday.
According to District Police Office Chief Basanta Kunwar, a case related to human trafficking was registered against them on Sunday and investigation into the case was expedited from the Nuwakot District Court.
It has been learnt that the duo lured the girls, on their way to play Bhailo on Laxmi Puja, by promising them good jobs in India and transported them to Surkhet.
The rescued girls have been kept at a shelter of Women and Children Service Centre of Nepal Police.Follow @gorkhapost