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Former Maldives president opposes U.S. plan to set up foothold for forces


08:24, June 08, 2013

NEW DELHI, June 7 (Xinhua) -- A former Maldives president has expressed opposition to a plan by the United States to establish a foothold for its armed forces in his Indian Ocean island nation.

The local daily The Hindu Friday quoted former Maldives President Maumoon Abdul Gayoon as saying that he was not happy with the reported discussion between Maldives and the U.S. on signing a Status of Force Agreement (SOFA) that envisages a foothold for American forces in the heart of the Indian Ocean.

"I am not happy. I didn't want that to happen," the 76-year-old former Maldives head of state told the newspaper.

Gayoon made a visit to New Delhi this week and met with Indian Minister of External Affairs Salman Kurshid.

The leaked draft SOFA being discussed by Male and Washington " incorporates the principal provisions and necessary authorization for the temporary presence and activities of the U.S. forces in the Republic of Maldives and, in the specific situations in dictated herein, the presence and activities of United States contractors in the Maldives", according to the report.

However, the U.S. Embassy in Colombo said there was no immediate plans for a permanent military base for U.S. forces in the Maldives.

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