Maldives to re-join Commonwealth next year

Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid has revealed that the Maldives will be re-accepted into the Common Wealth during July next year, at the top-level meeting of commonwealth officials.

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2020, also known as CHOGM 2020, will be the 26th meeting of the heads of government of the Commonwealth of Nations. The summit is scheduled to be held in Rwanda.

The parliament of the Maldives has given the green light to re-join the Commonwealth, backing the cabinet's decision to rejoin the commonwealth after former presidents Yameen Abdul Gayyoom withdrew from the organization in 2016.

Speaking on PSM Channel on Tuesday, Minister Shahid said all countries re-joining the commonwealth can only do so by following certain procedures, which includes a decision-making CHOGM meeting. The earliest earliest CHOGM meeting will be held in July 2020.

The Maldives first joined the Commonwealth on 9th July 1982. Minister Shahid said Maldives withdrew from the Commonwealth against the required procedure, which was brought to the Commonwealth's attention. Maldives requested the Secretary General of the organization to expedite the re-joining process, foregoing the CHOGM summit if possible.

"During discussions with the United Kingdom and several other Commonwealth member countries, the members themselves believe Maldives should be able to rejoin the commonwealth soon. Discussions are still ongoing", said Minister Shahid.

"The report prepared by the Commonwealth delegation who came to assess Maldives has now been handed over to the Secretary General. If procedure is followed without any exemptions, we should be able to able to officially rejoin Commonwealth next year in July at CHOGM summit in Rwanda", added Shahid.

Shahid noted that the Maldives was deprived of scholarships in the education sector and opportunities for Maldivian athletes in the international arena due to the country's abrupt withdrawal from the Commonwealth. Minister Shahid has previously stressed that the Commonwealth assists its member countries in several sectors, which have all been revoked due to the withdrawal from the organization.

Maldives left the Commonwealth on 13th October 2016, citing that the Commonwealth "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". It is a presidential pledge of current president Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to rejoin the Commonwealth.