Washington: The US said on Thursday that it considered the new government in the Maldives as legitimate, calling for a peaceful settlement to the ongoing political unrest in the Indian Ocean island nation."We do," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters at a regular briefing, when asked if the US considered the new government as the legitimate government of the Maldives, as reported.

She said the US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake, who is in charge of South Asian affairs, spoke through telephone with former Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed on Thursday morning, "conveying our assurances that the United States supports a peaceful resolution of this, and "expressing our views to the government that his security should be protected".

According to Nuland, Blake, who is scheduled to visit Maldives on Saturday, called for a peaceful settlement of the current situation in the Maldives "through dialogue and through the formation".

Nuland said that Blake, during his stay in the Maldives, will meet with the new President Mohammad Washid, former president Nasheed and civil society, adding that "he will be encouraging this national unity conversation".

Nasheed announced his resignation on Tuesday, following overnight violence and protests. Former vice president Mohammad Washid has taken office as the new president.

Following Wednesday's violent protests by supporters of Nasheed's party, a criminal court on Thursday issued a warrant to arrest Nasheed together with his former defence minister.