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Maldives govt, GMR eye settlement on Male airport

Friday, 3 January 2014 - 12:31pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

In a bid to attract Indian investment into Maldives that got affected after infrastructure firm GMR’s Male airport project was unilaterally scrapped by the earlier Maldivian government, its newly elected President Abdulla Yameen on Thursday said his government is in talks with GMR for an “out of court settlement” of the case and “not through arbitration”.

He also invited Indian industry to come to Maldives for investment.

“GMR’s Male airport issue was in arbitration and the two parties are seeking an out of court settlement. This would remove a major irritant in bilateral trade and economic ties,” said Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom on Thursday during a business function after meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

He said that there is nothing that cannot be sorted out through dialogue.

Yameen said Maldives is keen to have a dialogue with GMR and as they speak (at the function). “GMR is speaking with our officials to have a settlement out of court and not through arbitration.”
So hopefully, we will have mutually amicable solution,” he said.

The Maldivian president, however, was unclear on whether GMR could make a comeback in Male airport project.  But Yameen welcomed investments by GMR in other areas in Maldives.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh had asked President Abdulla Yameen to “amicably settle the issue of Male International Airport” and address the problems that some of Indian investors are facing in Maldives.

In 2012, the multi-million dollar project worth over $500 million was scrapped by the previous Maldivian government headed by President Mohamed Waheed. The case had then gone for arbitration between Maldivian government and GMR.

Singh also announced, after his comprehensive talks with Yameen on key issues including defence, security and economic cooperation, that a standby credit facility of $25 million was being extended to Maldives for imports from India.

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