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Special Meeting of The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group on The Harare Declaration (CMAG)
18 October 1999
The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group on the Harare Declaration (CMAG) met at Marlborough House, London, on 18 October 1999 to consider the situation in Pakistan* following the military takeover of 12 October.
CMAG unanimously condemned the unconstitutional overthrow of the democratically elected Government of Pakistan* as a serious violation of the Commonwealth's fundamental political principles, as enshrined in the Harare Commonwealth Declaration. The Group decided therefore that the Pakistan* military regime should forthwith be suspended from the councils of the Commonwealth, including the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), pending the restoration of democracy in the country.*
* The implications of such suspension would be:
· the exclusion of representatives of the military regime or nominees thereof, from participation at all inter-governmental Commonwealth meetings and in other inter-governmental Commonwealth activities, including CHOGM;
· the suspension of the provision of any new Commonwealth technical assistance to Pakistan* requested by the military government or its representatives. Technical assistance aimed at the restoration of civilian democratic rule, however, would be exempted from this suspension;
· unless by instruction of the Secretary-General, no contact between the Secretariat and the military regime or its representatives.
CMAG further called upon the military regime in Islamabad to set without delay a timeframe for the restoration of a democratically elected government.
The Group also called upon the regime of General Pervez Musharraf to uphold the safety, well-being and legal rights of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, other Ministers and all others who have been detained.
CMAG agreed to despatch a mission consisting of Ministers from Canada (leader), Barbados, Ghana and Malaysia to meet with the Pakistani regime and any public figures the Mission deems appropriate: to press for a clear timetable for the restoration of democracy; to propose recommendations on the question of Pakistan*'s membership of the Commonwealth; and to recommend what further measures might be taken should the regime in Pakistan* persist in violating the principles of the Harare Commonwealth Declaration. The Mission would report back to the Group prior to the Durban CHOGM in mid-November, and CMAG would make recommendations to CHOGM in the light of its findings.
The meeting was chaired by The Hon Dr I S G Mudenge, MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Zimbabwe and was attended by the Hon Ms Billie A Miller, MP, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Barbados, The Hon Lloyd Axworthy, MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Canada, The Hon Victor Gbeho, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ghana, The Hon Tan Sri Dato' Musa bin Hitam, Special Envoy of the Prime Minister of Malaysia to CMAG, and The Rt Hon Robin Cook, MP, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom. The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Botswana and New Zealand were represented by their High Commissioners to the United Kingdom.
*Following a military coup in October 1999, Pakistan has been suspended from the councils of the Commonwealth
Issued by the Information and Public Affairs Division,
London SW1Y 5HX,
Tel: 0207-839 3411;
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99/60 18 October 1999