Colombo warms up to Male, ready to welcome Yameen

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe spoke to outgoing Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen and said he was always welcome in Colombo, official sources said on Tuesday. Mr. Wickremesinghe also met former President Mohamed Nasheed for lunch on Monday — after Ibrahim Mohamed Solih dislodged Mr. Yameen in the election — and later wished Mr. Solih over telephone. Colombo has for long been a safe haven for many self-exiled dissidents from the Maldives, including Mr. Nasheed. The city is also home to more than 10,000 Maldivians, mostly students, professionals and patients. Bilateral ties between the neighbours have remained positive for decades, with Colombo mostly refraining from commenting on the Maldives’s internal affairs. Meanwhile in Male, President-elect Solih participated in his Maldivian Democratic Party’s national council meeting. The police chief and immigration officials called on him. Transition plan The Opposition would now focus on a transition plan, sources said. Unlike in parliamentary systems, the presidential term is fixed, and Mr. Solih will be sworn in when Mr. Yameen’s term officially ends on November 17, according to officials. Mr. Solih’s official Twitter handle on Tuesday confirmed that he had accepted an invitation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit India. Sources close to him said that his visit to New Delhi was likely to be his first state visit abroad.

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