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Secretary-General’s statement on Maldives

24 January 2013
London, 24 January 2013 – Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma announced today that his Special Envoy to Maldives, Sir Donald McKinnon, will visit Malé from 25 to 27 January 2013 as part of the Commonwealth’s continuing engagement with the country.

The Secretary-General said Sir Donald had a deep familiarity with Maldives, having been closely associated with promoting and achieving the country’s transition to multi-party democracy as former Commonwealth Secretary-General.

“A key objective of Sir Donald’s visit will be to discuss efforts to strengthen democratic institutions and processes in Maldives, and how the Commonwealth can further assist in this regard,” said the Secretary-General.

Mr Sharma expressed hope that Sir Donald would be able to meet once again with all the major stakeholders in Maldives during the visit.

Referring to the report of the Commission of National Inquiry (CONI) on the transfer of power in February 2012, the Secretary-General said: “The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) noted the CONI report’s conclusions about the transfer of power. Going beyond that, CMAG highlighted the need to investigate acts of police brutality, and welcomed the government’s commitment to reform and to strengthen the independence and quality of key institutions. These remain core concerns and priorities for the Commonwealth.”

Mr Sharma reiterated the Commonwealth’s commitment to working with all concerned in Maldives, in co-operation with international partners, to advance institutional reform.

“The Commonwealth continues to work towards consolidating multi-party democracy in Maldives. The year 2013 will be a critical one for Maldives, given the forthcoming presidential elections,” the Secretary-General said. He added: “It is essential for democracy in Maldives, and for lasting national reconciliation, that this year’s elections be both credible and inclusive. The Commonwealth expects there to be political space and a level-playing field for all candidates, parties and their leaders."