The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) will send an urgent ministerial mission to the Maldives to “ascertain the facts surrounding the transfer of power, and to promote adherence to Commonwealth values and principles.”
The meeting was convened by Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma and chaired by Surujrattan Rambachan, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Communications of Trinidad and Tobago.
Other members of the Group who participated in the meeting were: Kevin Rudd, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia, Dr Dipu Moni, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh, John Baird, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Canada, Senator Hon Arnold J Nicholson, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Jamaica, and Joseph Dauda, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sierra Leone.
“CMAG received a briefing from the Foreign Secretary of Maldives, Mr Mohamed Naseer, on the events leading up to and following the resignation of President Mohamed Nasheed on 7 February 2012. The Group was also briefed by former President Nasheed. The Secretary-General advised the group regarding his own interactions with President Waheed and former President Nasheed, and the findings of the Commonwealth Secretariat team currently in Maldives,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, new President of the Maldives Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan had today asked the Australian government to recognise the new government of the Maldives, which ousted President Mohamed Nasheed alleges is illegitimate following his resignation on February 7 “under duress”.
In an interview with The Australian newspaper, Dr Waheed said blamed international concerns about the situation on a “very biased message that has gone out”, claiming that “it could have an effect on how friendly countries like Australia view the situation.”
“I hope in the next two or three days there will be more understanding of what’s going on here,” he told the paper.
Dr Waheed said he was “not happy” about the arrest warrant for Mr Nasheed, but he would not intervene, the Australian reported.
“One of the problems that led us into this crisis was the involvement of the executive in the judiciary,” he said.
“I know there are some problems with the judiciary, but our democracy is still very young so the solution is not to have one branch of government fight with the other but to find ways of resolving matters.”
He conceded to an investigation into the allegations that Nasheed’s duration was under duress, and “that a half-brother of former president Gayoom had, just days earlier, offered financial inducements to any police officers who were prepared to mutiny”, the paper reported
“I think at the end of the day, he (Nasheed) is responsible for whatever has happened to him, and he should not be looking for scapegoats,” Dr Waheed said.
In the statement, the Commonwealth noted that heads of government had increased the body’s mandate in Perth in 2011 “to consider situations of concern in member countries in a proactive, engaged and positive manner.”
CMAG recognised “the impressive gains made by Maldives in recent years in consolidating multi-party democracy”, and “expressed its solidarity with the people of Maldives to select a government of their choice through democratic means.”
“CMAG stressed that the way forward must be determined by Maldivians themselves, through inclusive political dialogue in an atmosphere of non-violence, restraint and stability.”
The mission to the Maldives will be followed by a report, and a further extraordinary meeting.