The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, a representative body of foreign affairs ministers, has welcomed the commitment of the Maldives Government to a political dialogue, and has called for this to be “led by the Government with democratic will” and for it to be “inclusive, purposeful, time-bound and forward-looking” with the involvement of all political parties in the country.
The Group has also called for action to release detained political leaders and to allow the return of other leaders from abroad.
The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) gathered in London on 24 February 2016 for an extraordinary meeting to discuss the outcomes of a fact-finding visit by a delegation of its members to the Maldives earlier in the month.
Chaired by Cyprus’ Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon Ioannis Kasoulides, CMAG comprises nine Commonwealth foreign ministers, which acts as the custodian of the Commonwealth’s fundamental political values including democracy, the rule of law and human rights.
In a statement issued following their meeting, the ministers also welcomed Maldives’ commitment to use Commonwealth assistance to strengthen its democratic culture and institutions, and to review the Constitution.
The Group however also underlined that there are still currently serious and persistent concerns in the country from a Commonwealth perspective. These relate to the lack of political space and detention of political leaders, the separation of powers and independence of the judiciary, and the independence and lawful functioning of democratic institutions in the country.
CMAG pledged to continue “constructive consideration of the situation in Maldives…in reflection of the Group’s commitment on behalf of Commonwealth Heads of Government to support Maldives in a positive, forward-looking and consultative spirit.”
Their statement added: “Ministers also concluded that the Commonwealth’s continuing efforts to support Maldives in advancing the Commonwealth’s political values and principles would be reviewed at the Group’s next scheduled meeting in April 2016.”