Maldives president orders probe into alleged $2M bribe to recognise Kosovo

The president of Maldives, Muhamed Nashid, has ordered police to investigate allegations that government officials accepted a $2 million bribe to recognise Kosovo as independent, media in the Maldives and Serbia reported.

The allegations were made at the beginning of March by the opposition Islamic Democratic Party.

Maldives foreign minister Ahmed Shaheed rejected the allegations as false.

In an interview with website, Shaheed said that the government believed that recognising the independence of Kosovo was essential to a 100 per cent Islamic country like the Maldives.

Before formal recognition, wide discussions on the subject were held with several countries providing support and assistance to Maldives. He said none of the countries with which the discussions were held had any objections.

“We held discussion with neighbouring countries, European countries, Islamic countries as well as the US on the issue” and ” also had discussions with Kosovo opposition parties as well as the Kosovo government,” Shaheed was quoted as saying. The countries with which discussions were held included the United States, United Kingdom and India, reports said.

Kosovo’s past was full of bloodshed and when they announced their independence with great difficulty, “we as a Muslim nation, must support and recognise it,” Shaheed said.

Shaheed said that as Maldives was currently seeking a UN Security Council seat, accepting such independence was vital and essential.

Soon after Maldives announced on February 19 2009 that it was recognising Kosovo, which unilaterally declared independence from Serbia on February 17 2008 and is recognised as independent by 56 out of 92 UN member states, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton thanked Maldives for its decision.

In a message sent to Shaheed, Clinton said that the government’s decision greatly contributed to efforts to promote a stable and prosperous future for Kosovo and the Western Balkans, Maldives media reported.

Expressing hope that other countries will follow the Maldives example in recognising Kosovo in the near future, Clinton welcomed Shaheed’s efforts to encourage other countries to support Kosovo.

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