After leaving the Commonwealth of Nations in 2016, the Maldives is set to rejoin the organization under the new leadership of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.
The decision was taken during a Cabinet meeting held on November 19, where “Ministers underscored the advantages of being a Commonwealth member, particularly noting that it would open up several opportunities to the Maldivian people, especially for the youth,” according to an official release.
“In this regard, Ministers discussed the facilitation of education scholarships and the vast opportunities for Maldivian athletes to perform internationally,” the statement further noted while highlighting further recommendations made by the ministers towards this.
The release further noted that the decision was taken by Solih after extensive deliberations and recommendations from the Cabinet. “The Cabinet Ministers noted the importance of Maldives being a member of the Commonwealth, especially in keeping in line with other members of the international community with regard to upholding and promoting human rights, freedom of expression, and democracy,” while mentioning, “Furthermore, the Ministers highlighted the importance of promoting sustainable development while ensuring environmental protection.”
The final date of rejoining the Commonwealth Nations has not yet been decided, as the release noted that the respective authorities are currently in the process of setting things in motion for the Maldives to re-join the Commonwealth.
The Asian island-nation first became a member of the Commonwealth on July 9, 1982, following which the nation decided to pull out of the 53-nation organization on October 13, 2016, citing the uncalled interference by the group in the country’s political discourse. The decision had come in the midst of mounting pressure from the Commonwealth over corruption and deteriorating human rights in the Maldives.
Solih also established a committee for the liberation of political prisoners which led to the release of former Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed, former Justice Ali Hameed, former Prosecutor General Muhthaz Muhsin and former magistrate Ahmed Nihan from house arrest on November 19, according to the Maldives Independent.
Solih further urged all ministers in the Cabinet to “steer away from any form of corruption” in executing their respective mandates during the meeting held on the same day.
During the same meeting, the newly elected leader discussed details regarding his government’s First 100 Days programme with the Cabinet, following which the group of ministers decided to initiate the implementation of the First 100 Days’ Goals set by Solih.
“Discussions were also held on the rapid assessments conducted by the transition office, to determine the current status of government institutions. Members deliberated on the current budget and forecasted budget set for the operation of Ministries and State enterprises, and the rules and regulations set for the institutions,” according to the government’s official news portals, Sarukaaru Khabaru.
“Moreover, discussions were held on the special programmes currently being undertaken by the government institutions and those planned for the future, and national level programmes being conducted by the institutions,” the release stated while adding, “The Cabinet also discussed extensively, on ways to resolve the challenges highlighted in the findings of the transitional committees.”
The Maldives’ new President, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, was sworn in on November 17 in a ceremony which was attended by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
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