As UK leaves European Union, Maldives rejoins Commonwealth

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Feb 01, 2020, 05.13 PM(IST)

Ibrahim Mohamed Solih Photograph:( AFP )

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The latest development came hours after the UK sealed its divorce with the European Union on January 31.

The Maldives rejoined the Commonwealth, three years after the neighbouring island quit the organisation over criticism of its human rights record, country's President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih announced on Saturday.

"I had a conversation with the Commonwealth’s Secretary General who informed me that the Maldives has been formally reinstated into the Commonwealth as it’s 54th member state. We shall long strive to uphold the Commonwealth’s values of democracy and human rights," wrote Solih on Twitter.

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After Maldives' readmission, the count of Commonwealth countries is not at 54.

The latest development came hours after the UK sealed officially left the European Union on January 31.

Welcoming the Maldives back to political association which include countries that were territories of the British Empire, Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said, "The reform process underway in the Maldives aligns with the values and principles of the Commonwealth and we encourage the nation to continue on this path." 

"Commonwealth members were pleased to note these developments and are happy once again to count the Maldives as a member of the family. Together we will support the Maldives to realise its ambitions," Patricia Scotland also said.

Also read | Brexit: What changes and what stays the same for UK?

Maldives joined the Commonwealth in 1982 and was a member until it withdrew in October, 2016. The Republic had quit after it was threatened with suspension over its human rights record and lack of progress on democratic reform.

In December 2018, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solid wrote to Commonwealth Secretary-General and requested to rejoin the political association. 

The Commonwealth Secretariat said that the assessment included two site visits to the country followed by positive feedback given by a Commonwealth Observer Group which was present for the Parliamentary Elections in April 2019.

Maldives Ambassador to the UK Farah Faizal, now becomes its High Commissioner, signifying Commonwealth membership.

The Commonwealth is a political association of 54 member states, nearly all of them former territories of the British Empire. Its members have agreed to shared goals like development, democracy and peace.

Any country can join the modern Commonwealth. The last country to join the Commonwealth was Rwanda in 2009.

(With inputs from agenices)

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