M A I N   N E W S

Maldives to go ahead with takeover of airport project
Says it has ‘worked out’ a plan with GMR; Indian firm denies deal

Male, December 4
Maldives today asserted that it will go ahead with the takeover of the Male International Airport from GMR later this week and said they along with the Indian firm have "worked out" a plan to hand over the running of the airport "without any hiccups".

However, the Indian infrastructure major has denied that any deal for handing over the airport project has been worked out with Maldives.

"Yes, we will go ahead with the takeover of the Airport as planned and on schedule," President Mohamed Waheed's press secretary Masood Imad told PTI.

Asked if the government would rope in police or military since the GMR had earlier said it would continue to operate the airport, Imad said: "At this moment I do not see the possibility of having to apply any type of force, or police intervention.

"The Acting Minister of Transport is in touch with the senior officials of GMR operations in the airport and together they have worked out a plan to hand over the running of the airport without any hiccups".

However, GMR Male International Airport CEO Andrew Harrison told PTI that no deal has been worked out but said a meeting did take place today with the Maldivian authorities over the issue.

"The Singapore High Court has issued an injunction which clearly prevents MACL or the Government of Maldives or any of its agents from taking any action that interferes with GMIAL operating the airport.

"We remain resolute in our position and there is no question of an offer being made and certainly no question of any alleged offer being accepted as we will simply not agree to our rights nor the injunction being undermined in any way," he said. Harrison said another meeting would take place tomorrow.

Meanwhile Imad said that they will compensate GMR. As per the contract signed in 2010 during the regime of previous President Mohamed Nasheed, Maldives would have to pay about $400 million in case of termination. — PTI



Don’t take any coercive measures, Delhi to Male
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 4
India on Tuesday firmly told the Maldives that it should not resort to any arbitrary and coercive measures pending the outcome of the legal process under way over Male's decision to terminate the airport development project awarded to Indian infrastructure major GMR.

"Resort to any such actions would inevitably have adverse consequences for relations between India and the Maldives,'' External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid told his Maldivian counterpart Samad Abdullah during a telephonic conversation.

The Maldives minister explained legal and other reasons that were used as rationale for cancellation of the project, official sources said. They added that Abdullah sought India's understanding and hoped it will not hurt bilateral ties. He conveyed to Khurshid that a detailed communication on the GMR issue would be sent to the Prime Minister soon.

Khurshid conveyed India's displeasure at the decision on the GMR project and underlined that the scrapping of the biggest single Indian FDI in the Maldives will negatively impact bilateral trade ties and the larger relationship.

The Maldives government yesterday decided to take control of the international airport despite a Singapore court staying the suspension of the contract given to India's GMR-led consortium.

In response to a question, the MEA spokesperson tonight said India was concerned over reports from the Maldives about continuing violence and intimidation against elected representatives and expressions of radical sentiments.





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