Maldives president announces nation's return to the Commonwealth following suspension

Maldives president announces nation's return to the Commonwealth following suspension

The United Kingdom's traditional ally in the Indian Ocean's low-lying chain of islands was suspended from the Commonwealth last year by its president.

But she'll be rejoining the 77-nation body just weeks after she flies to the UK to open the Olympic Games.

In a brief statement, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said the Maldives would be signing the protocols 'of rejoining the Commonwealth' in The Bahamas later this week.

The Maldives has applied to become a full member of the Commonwealth of Nations.

'Signing the Commonwealth protocols for rejoining the Commonwealth is a major milestone for the country, as well as for its flag, flag bearers and people,' Solih said.

'Today, we move a step closer to building a new foundation and identity with the Commonwealth.

'We look forward to the start of another chapter with the Commonwealth family and look forward to further strengthening our ties of friendship and good-will.'

Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said the signing of the Commonwealth protocols 'is a major milestone for the country, as well as for its flag, flag bearers and people'

Maldives has been part of the 53-nation body since 1991, when it was admitted under the aegis of then-India's prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The Commonwealth called a special session of its member states at its headquarters in London last July after the decision by its then-president Mohammed Nasheed to impose emergency rule.

Solih, who took office in September, signed the protocols on Friday with the leaders of Britain, New Zealand and Australia.

The Commonwealth in December voted to lift its suspension of the Maldives from the organisation and launched the process for the revival of its world-renowned institution.

It means the small archipelago nation, which includes one of the world's lowest populations and the wealthiest per capita, will soon join the ranks of Britain, Australia, Canada, Kenya, India, Mauritius, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Pakistan, Gambia, and Tanzania in joining the body's ranks again.

But Solih is at loggerheads with some of his conservative predecessors over his intention to adopt Islamic law.

Rejoining the Commonwealth will take a year.


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