The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group has called for “clear, measurable progress” in Maldives, as it encouraged the country’s Government and opposition to move closer to achieving “purposeful and forward-looking” dialogue.
The group of nine foreign ministers underlined that they expect to see evidence of action across six priority areas, which were outlined at their last meeting in February, by the time of CMAG’s next scheduled meeting in September “when the group will assess progress, take stock, and take decisions accordingly”.
The group, which acts as the custodian of Commonwealth political values including democracy, the rule of law and human rights, met on 20 April 2016 at the Commonwealth Secretariat’s headquarters in London.
“Ministers reaffirmed the importance which they attached to all political parties participating constructively in the formation of a clear roadmap and specified timeframe for progress, and to seeing evidence of concrete steps taken and progress achieved by all to address specific issues on a political dialogue agenda,” the group said in their concluding statement.
CMAG expressed their “serious concern” that anti-terrorism legislation might continue to be misused in a politicised manner, including against public officials.
The group also reaffirmed their expectation that the Government should facilitate the prompt release of political leaders from detention, noting their disappointment that it had revoked the medical leave offered to some senior political figures.
“Recalling their recommendation for practical confidence-building measures to promote freedom and space for civil society, Ministers expressed their concern that there was little or no evidence of substantive progress achieved in the areas of concern raised,” they said.
The Ministers welcomed a commitment by Commonwealth Secretary-General Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC to appoint a Special Envoy to Maldives to encourage political pluralism and inclusive elections, next scheduled in 2018. The group also welcomed the agreement between the Commonwealth Secretariat and Government on a programme of technical assistance for the country.
CMAG is chaired by Cyprus’ Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon Ioannis Kasoulides, and includes Ministers from Guyana, India, Kenya, Malta, Namibia, New Zealand, Pakistan, and Solomon Islands.
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