MALE, May 19 (Xinhua)-- Maldives President Adbulla Yameen has set terms and representatives for talks with the opposition amidst growing domestic and international calls for dialogue, local media reported on Tuesday.
Two teams of seven ministers will hold separate discussions with the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), and with the Jumhooree Party and the religious conservative Adhaalath Party.
President Yameen's proposed agenda focuses on three aspects; political reconciliation, strengthening the judiciary and legal system and political party participation in economic and social development.
President's office spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz Ali, however, ruled out negotiations over the imprisonment of ex-president Mohamed Nasheed who was controversially jailed for 13 years, insisting the president has no role in the release.
"The discussions will proceed within legal limits. The problem before was the president does not have the legal means to meet the demands of the opposition," Muaz said, referring to president Yameen's earlier comments ruling out any dialogue with the opposition over jailed opposition leaders.
"Now, the president's interest is to protect the country and its people. The president will consider the interest of the whole nation rather than that of individuals," Muaz said.
The Maldives government has come under international criticism for its anti-opposition activities that include jailing opposition supporters and leaders.
In March it jailed former President Mohamed Nasheed to 13 years in jail over terrorism charges. The United Nations along with other countries have criticized the trial for failing to meet international standards.