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Maldives leaves Commonwealth, cites uncalled interference by group

| Updated: Oct 14, 2016 01:19 IST

Male [Maldives], Oct. 13 (ANI): The Maldives on Thursday decided to pull out of the 53-nation Commonwealth, citing the uncalled interference by the group in the country's political discourse. "The Commonwealth has sought to become an active participant in the domestic political discourse in the Maldives, which is contrary to the principles of the Charters of the UN and the Commonwealth," read a statement issued by the Government of Maldives. "The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (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 read. Stating that the withdrawal 'was difficult, but inevitable', the statement added, "Since 2012, the Government of Maldives has been giving maximum cooperation to the Commonwealth, shown maximum transparency, and engaged with the Commonwealth at the highest levels. Regrettably, the Commonwealth has not recognised that progress and achievements." "The Commonwealth has sought to take punitive actions against the Maldives since 2012 after the then president of Maldives resigned, and transfer of power took place as per the procedures set out in the Constitution. 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 that since then, the CMAG and the Commonwealth Secretariat have treated the Maldives "unjustly and unfairly". The statement said that Maldives will, however, continue international engagement both bilaterally and multilaterally. This comes as the Maldives is facing mounting pressure from the 53-nation group over corruption and deteriorating human rights. The country's government has been fending off rumours of an impending coup and allegations of money laundering. (ANI)