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Updated: January 2, 2014 23:43 IST

Maldives for out-of-court pact with GMR on airport project

PTI
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“There is nothing that cannot be sorted out through dialogue. So we are very keen to have a dialogue with GMR,
PTI “There is nothing that cannot be sorted out through dialogue. So we are very keen to have a dialogue with GMR," Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen said. File photo

"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," Maldivian President said.

Maldives is in talks with GMR, whose over $500 million Male airport project was scrapped, for an out of court settlement and not through arbitration, Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen said in New Delhi on Thursday.

However, he appeared to rule out the Indian infrastructure giant’s comeback in the Male airport project, saying it was a highly “politicised case” in Maldives.

Mr. Yameen was talking at a business meet here after meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who had asked him to address the problems faced by some Indian investors and “amicably” settle the issue of Male International Airport.

“There is nothing that cannot be sorted out through dialogue. So we are very keen to have a dialogue with GMR. As we speak, 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,” Mr. Yameen said.

The GMR’s project worth over USD 500 million was scrapped unilaterally 14 months back by the Maldivian Government which was then headed by Mohamed Waheed after a lot of domestic political pressure to do so.

“We are hoping that before we are through with arbitration, we will be able to mutually resolve this matter,” Mr. Yameen said.

However, when asked if the Indian infrastructure giant would again be given opportunity to get into the airport renovation project, he evaded a direct answer but appeared to rule out any possibility for GMR in near future, saying currently the airport infrastructure and construction would be done by the Maldivian authorities.

”...right now airport infrastructure and construction, this is going to be done by Maldivian authorities and whether in future, if and what segment of airport can be tendered out to foreign partners, is yet to be evaluated,” he added.

The President said that international airports and tourism are most remunerative areas for investors,.”...so this is one of the reason why GMR has not been able to complete the contract given under former administration....”.

However, he said Maldives would welcome investments by the Indian infrastructure major GMR in other areas

“Most of us would like GMR investment in Maldives as well but regarding the existing airport (issue)... it is highly politicised case and therefore at this point of time, I will not be able to tell you what course the administration will be able to take,” he added.

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