Colombo : The Maldives has hit out at the United States after the US warned of possible sanctions against key officials of the island nation if upcoming elections are not free and fair. The President Donald Trump administration war­n­ed the Indian ocean archipelago on Thursday of possible sanctions if it doesn’t reverse democratic backsliding and ensure free presidential polls on September 23.

On a statement posted late Friday on the foreign ministry website, the Maldives said it views the US statement as “as an act of intimidation, imposing undue influence on the democratic processes of a sovereign state.” It urged the US and others “to allow the people of the Maldives to freely decide on 23 September on who should lead them for the next five years.” The US remarks ca­me amid rising accusations from the Maldivian opposition that the elections will not be held fairly.

Opposition presidential candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has expressed fears that the government will rig the election.

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