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NZ supports Pakistan’s return to the Commonwealth

Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs

12 May 2008
Media statement

NZ supports Pakistan’s return to the Commonwealth

New Zealand fully supports the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group’s (CMAG) decision to readmit Pakistan as a full member while maintaining Fiji’s suspension, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said today.

Mr Peters has been in London for the latest meeting of CMAG, which is the Commonwealth’s watchdog on democratic governance.

Monday’s meeting was convened to consider the cases of Pakistan and Fiji, which were suspended from the Councils of the Commonwealth in 2007 and 2006 respectively.

“Pakistan has demonstrated its commitment to returning to democratic governance. It has repealed emergency provisions that violated constitutional freedoms, and in February conducted successful parliamentary elections that led to the formation of a new government,” Mr Peters said.

“Fiji, however, remains of great concern to the Commonwealth, as it is to New Zealand. Today’s meeting reaffirmed the Commonwealth’s strong support for the regional process led by the Pacific Islands Forum.

“CMAG also expressed concern at slippages in Fiji’s electoral preparations; the continuing militarisation of key institutions, and at reports that the independence of the judiciary and the freedom of the media are being seriously compromised.

“Fiji can take no comfort from the views expressed today. It is clear that Fiji will only be welcomed back into the Commonwealth if and when it meets its own commitments – given to Forum Leaders by Commodore Bainimarama last year, and repeated many times since – that it will hold free and fair elections by the end of March 2009,” Mr Peters said.

New Zealand rotated on to the nine-member CMAG last November.


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