JIS News

Prime Minster, the Hon. Bruce Golding today endorsed the decision of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) to suspend Pakistan from the Councils of the Commonwealth with immediate effect.
Speaking at the first executive session of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kampala, Uganda, the Prime Minister said that the decision was necessary if the organisation was to maintain its credibility and demonstrate consistency in applying its rules. The established principles of adherence to constitutional provisions, free and fair elections, independence of the judiciary and the rule of law were fundamental to the Commonwealth, and there could be no compromise on them, Mr. Golding said.
The Prime Minister sought and obtained assurances, however, that the action taken by the Commonwealth would not prevent or impede ongoing engagement with the leadership and people of Pakistan resulting in possible resumption of full membership in the future once there was a restoration of the conditions in Pakistan that were consistent with Commonwealth values, principles and practices.
CMAG announced the suspension of Pakistan on Thursday night. It said that the government of President Pervez Musharaff had failed to meet the conditions set by CMAG at its meeting on November 12 to restore democracy.
Fiji is the other country suspended from the Councils of the Commonwealth. This suspension followed a coup which removed the democratically elected government of that country in December 2006. Commonwealth Heads noted the report of CMAG that some progress was being made by Fiji toward the restoration of democracy and urged the continued engagement of the Secretariat in that endeavour.
The Kampala Summit will end tomorrow, November 25. It is being held under the theme ‘Transforming Commonwealth Societies to achieve political, economic and human development’. The 3-day summit has been providing the opportunity for Member States to review global and economic developments such as climate change and international trade and to identify ways to strengthen mutual cooperation within the Commonwealth.

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