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CMAG to consider Pakistan in Commonwealth

"The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, of which New Zealand is a member, will meet in London tonight (NZT) to consider the Commonwealth's response to last week's military coup in Pakistan" Foreign Minister Don McKinnon said today.

"We will want CMAG to make it clear that Pakistan's military leaders will not be welcome at next month's CHOGM in Durban, and will be unable to participate in many other Ministerial-level Commonwealth meetings. There could well be further measures taken to underline the Commonwealth's serious concern about the coup" the Minister said.

"General Musharraf has said that the Pakistani armed forces have no intention of staying in power any longer than absolutely necessary. If this is the case he should spell out a clear timetable for a return to properly-constituted civilian administration and constitutional government" Mr McKinnon said.

"The Commonwealth stands ready to help member states promote good governance", the Minister added. "I would expect CMAG to offer General Musharraf this kind of assistance and it is to be hoped he will accept it in the interests of Pakistan, the Minister concluded.

Members of CMAG are Zimbabwe (Chair), New Zealand (Vice Chair), Canada, the United Kingdom, Botswana, Malaysia, Ghana and Barbados. New Zealand will be represented at the meeting by High Commissioner Rt Hon Paul East QC.


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