Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

A United Nations political team heads to the Maldives next week for talks on how to help support the Indian Ocean archipelago in its transition to democracy.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon?s spokesperson Martin Nesirky told reporters today that a mission from the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA), headed by Assistant Secretary-General Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, is slated to arrive in the Maldives on 9 February.

The mission will meet with Government officials, opposition leaders and civil society representatives to both discuss the current situation and identify opportunities to support the democratic transition, Mr. Nesirky said.

In November last year UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay visited the Maldives and said the country had made ?significant advances? during the first few years of its transition, but a gap still existed between the rhetoric and the reality on the ground.

Multi-party presidential elections were held for the first time in 2008, ending 30 years of one-party rule, and the country has ratified six of seven core international treaties.

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