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Commonwealth Maintains Envoy Langa

Issue No: 614 22 March 2001

The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) has decided to maintain the Special Envoy to Fiji, Justice Pius Panga to continue its mission in Fiji.

The CMAG statement at the end of the meeting stated that the CMAG "expressed support for the work of the Commonwealth Secretary-General's Special Envoy, Justice Pius Langa, and agreed that the Special Envoy should continue his efforts to promote national unity and the restoration of democracy in Fiji. Ministers asked the Secretary-General to provide such technical assistance to Fiji for the restoration of democracy as may be appropriate."

The full statement of the CMAG on Fiji is found at: http://www.pcgov.org.fj/docs_o/cmag_stm_21mar01.htm

The Commonwealth appoints special envoys to countries which have violate constitutional democracy. Under the Milbrook Plan of Action, the Commonwealth is required to take certain firm actions "Where a member country is perceived to be clearly in violation of the Harare Commonwealth Declaration, and particularly in the event of an unconstitutional overthrow of a democratically elected government". One of the actions is the "appointment of an envoy or a group of eminent Commonwealth representatives".

That the CMAG has decided to continue to maintain Justice Langa as the Envoy is a clear indication that the Commonwealth regards the decisions of the President Ratu Josefa Iloilo in dissolving Parliament and appointing the Qarase regimes as "an unconstitutional overthrow of a democratically elected government".

Meanwhile political parties in Fiji have welcomed the CMAG statement.

END


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