The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group has expressed disappointment and deep concern at the lack of progress achieved so far through the All-Party Talks process to arrive at a political settlement in Maldives.
In a teleconference held today on relevant developments in Maldives since the Group’s extraordinary meeting in London on February 22, to continue its consideration of the situation in Maldives, the Group further noted with regret that the Parliament had not been able to convene as scheduled on March 1 that would enable the holding of early elections in the current calendar year, as expected by the Group.
The Group welcomed the continuing Good Offices of the Commonwealth Secretary-General in Maldives and, in this context, the appointment of Rt Hon Sir Donald McKinnon as the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy.
It attached great importance to the role of the Special Envoy who is expected to arrive in the country later today and expressed its full support to him in his assignment.
CMAG continued to be strongly of the view that the earliest possible expression of the will of the people was required to establish universal faith in the legitimacy of those who govern the country.
It urged all parties to engage in dialogue without delay, in earnest and in good faith with a view to achieving agreement on the date of early elections, and the processes required to do so, including any necessary constitutional amendments and supporting legislation.
The Group also noted that the Commission of National Inquiry in Maldives had commenced its investigation into the events between 14 January and 8 February 2012, but that it had not secured cross-party support.
In this context, CMAG acknowledged that international assistance for the investigative mechanism has been requested, and noted that the Commonwealth could be of potential assistance.
It reiterated its strong belief in the importance of the work of the Commission and the conviction this should carry in Maldives and internationally.
CMAG continued to be concerned to ensure that former President Nasheed received the freedoms and privileges due to a former head of government.
CMAG urged that all political parties and their leaders should be able to participate fully and freely in future electoral processes.
CMAG once again urged all parties in Maldives to act with maximum restraint and mutual respect in their public statements and actions, with a view to maintaining order and an atmosphere of calm, and to seek an inclusive way forward.
The Group reiterated that the Commonwealth should provide appropriate assistance to Maldives in areas that promote adherence to Commonwealth values and principles, including the Judiciary, the Majlis and the Elections Commission.
The Group welcomed the Secretary-General’s advice that a programme of assistance to the Judiciary would commence shortly.
CMAG decided to retain Maldives on its agenda, noting that it would meet in April when further steps could be considered in light of progress over the next month.