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Maldives Quits Commonwealth, Decision ‘Inevitable’

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MALE – The Maldives on Thursday pulled out of the Commonwealth calling as
“unjust” the grouping’s decision to penalise the island nation over the
circumstances that led to then President Mohamed Nasheed’s ouster in 2012
and the lack of subsequent progress in resolving the political unrest.

The Press Trust of India (PTI) reports that the Maldives Foreign Ministry
termed the decision as “difficult” but “inevitable” to leave the Commonwealth, a
grouping of 53 nations that were mostly territories of the former British

Last month, the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), had warned
Maldives of suspension from the bloc expressing its “deep disappointment” over
the country’s lack of progress in resolving the political crisis.

Severely critical of Commonwealth, the Maldives said in the name of
promotion of democracy, the grouping used the country to increase the
organisation’s own relevance and leverage in international politics.

“The Commonwealth has sought to take punitive actions against the Maldives
since 2012 after the then President of Maldives (Nasheed) resigned, and transfer
of power took place as per the procedures set out in the Constitution,” the
Maldives Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“The Commonwealth’s decision to penalise the Maldives was unjustified
especially given that the Commission of National Inquiry (CoNI), established
with the help of the Commonwealth, found that the transfer of power in the
Maldives was consistent with the constitutional provisions,” it said.

The Maldives said, since then, the CMAG and the Commonwealth Secretariat
have treated the Maldives “unjustly and unfairly”.

“The CMAG and the Commonwealth Secretariat seem to be convinced that the
Maldives, because of the high and favourable reputation that the country enjoys
internationally, and also perhaps because it is a small state that lacks
material power, would be an easy object that can be used, especially in the name
of democracy promotion, to increase the organisation’s own relevance and
leverage in international politics,” the statement said.

“The Maldives reassures that its international engagement will continue
both bilaterally and multilaterally,” it added.

Maldives said it had joined the Commonwealth in 1982 with high hopes and
expectations, holding that it will be a platform for coordinating critical
issues that the member states, in particular, the smallest members of the
organisation face.

The CMAG had criticised the inquiry commission set up to investigate
the removal of then President Nasheed from power in 2012.


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