People should be free to determine their own destiny, new Foreign Minister Dr Abdul Samad Abdulla said in a statement to mark Commonwealth Day.
“2012 marks the Maldives’ 30th year as a member of the Commonwealth, a landmark that represents our continued desire to share our own unique culture, and to work with the Commonwealth to promote its values: democracy, freedom, peace, the rule of law and opportunity for all,” Dr Samad said.
“By recognising that culture is important, we place a value on freedom. That is, people should be free to determine their own destiny. While culture is valuable in itself, the meeting of cultures
is equally important. Connecting cultures fosters education and respect for difference, while at the same time encouraging recognition of the bonds and similarities that exist between our
Dr Samad said that despite its geographic isolation, “the Maldives continues to accelerate its engagement with the Commonwealth and the international community. Last year it successfully hosted the SAARC summit and continues to punch above its weight in the international arena.”
“Connecting cultures embodies all that the Commonwealth holds important. Politically, the Maldives is evolving and striving to achieve the values and principles of the Commonwealth,” he added.
The Commonwealth recently suspended the Maldives from its human rights and democracy arm, the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), calling for both an independent, internationally-assisted inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the change of government on February 7, and a commitment to early elections before the end of the year.