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- Sixteenth Meeting Of The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group On The Harare Declaration (CMAG) Marlborough House, 3-4 September 2001
Sixteenth Meeting Of The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group On The Harare Declaration (CMAG) Marlborough House, 3-4 September 2001
4 September 2001
1. The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group on the Harare Declaration (CMAG) met in London on 3-4 September 2001. This was the Group's sixteenth meeting since its creation by Commonwealth Heads of Government in November 1995. The meeting was chaired by the Hon Lt General Mompati Merafhe, MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Botswana and was attended by the Hon Alexander Downer MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia, the Hon Billie Miller, MP, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados (Vice-Chairperson), the Hon John Manley, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, the Hon Tan Sri Dato' Musa bin Hitam, Special Envoy of the Prime Minister of Malaysia to CMAG, the Hon Sule Lamido, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, the Rt Hon Jack Straw, MP, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom and H E Gyash Uddin, High Commissioner for Bangladesh to the United Kingdom.
2. The Group unanimously adopted its biennial Report, and agreed that before making it public it would be submitted to Commonwealth Heads of Government, who will be meeting in Brisbane, Australia, in October 2001.
3. The Group reviewed recent developments in respect of the two countries currently suspended from the Councils of the Commonwealth, i.e. Fiji and Pakistan; other countries on CMAG's remit, namely, The Gambia, Sierra Leone and Solomon Islands; and other situations of interest to Ministers.
4. Ministers agreed to recommend to Commonwealth Heads of Government that provided the Commonwealth Observer Group present at the elections in Fiji from 25 August to 5 September 2001 judged that the electoral process was free and fair, then with the formation of a new elected Government in accordance with the Constitution, democracy would have been restored. Thus Fiji would no longer be in violation of the principles contained in the Commonwealth Harare Declaration. Fiji's suspension from the Councils of the Commonwealth would therefore be lifted, and Fiji would be eligible to attend the Brisbane Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in October 2001.
5. CMAG expressed concern over the continuation of non-democratic government in Pakistan, in violation of the Commonwealth's fundamental political values as expressed in the Harare Commonwealth Declaration. Ministers decided to recommend to Heads of Government that the Commonwealth Secretary-General should have an active monitoring role in the period leading to the restoration of democracy as announced by General Musharraf on 14 August 2001, and should look favourably to the deployment of Commonwealth observers at the forthcoming national and provincial elections.
6. CMAG also recommended to Heads of Government that Pakistan's status in the Commonwealth should remain unchanged pending a return to democratic government, i.e. Pakistan will remain suspended from the Councils of the Commonwealth.
7. CMAG welcomed the imminent repeal of Decree 89 and its Schedule but noted the need to take further measures to create an environment in which all political parties and individuals could freely take part in the political process.
8. The Group therefore concluded that The Gambia be removed from the CMAG remit from the time that the repeal of Decree 89 comes into force.
9. The Group requested the Secretary-General to continue to monitor the situation in The Gambia and to provide technical assistance to strengthen democratic processes and institutions.
10. CMAG recommended to Heads of Government that, taking into account that the Government of Sierra Leone was not in violation of the principles contained in the Commonwealth Harare Declaration, Sierra Leone should be removed from its remit. The Secretary-General should continue, however, to closely monitor the situation in Sierra Leone, encourage Commonwealth countries and Commonwealth non-Governmental groups and associations to contribute towards democratic consolidation and post-conflict stabilisation, and keep CMAG regularly informed.
11. The Group decided to continue to monitor the situation in Solomon Islands and agreed that appropriate Commonwealth assistance should be extended to promote democracy, good governance and economic growth. It commended the role of other governments in the region in promoting peace in Solomon Islands as well as the contribution of the International Peace Monitoring Team. Ministers requested the Secretary-General to keep available his good offices to further the peace process in Solomon Islands and to arrange for observation of the forthcoming elections.
12. The Group also noted and commended to Heads of Government the recommendations of the Senior Officials of the High Level Review Group (HLG) concerning CMAG's future role and its terms of reference and operation, which Heads of Government will consider at their Brisbane Summit.
13. The Group decided that it would meet again on 5 October 2001, on the eve of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Brisbane, to consider the latest developments and finalise their submission to Commonwealth Heads of Government.
4 September 2001
Statement on Zimbabwe
CMAG Ministers took the opportunity to discuss the situation in Zimbabwe.
2. Recalling that they had expressed concern over conditions in Zimbabwe at their meetings in May 2000, and again in March 2001, Ministers again registered concern that the situation in Zimbabwe had not improved. They deeply regretted that the Government of Zimbabwe had not agreed to receive three CMAG Ministers as proposed at their last meeting.
3. The Group expressed its full support for the initiative by President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria to hold a meeting of Commonwealth Ministers on the Zimbabwe situation in Abuja, Nigeria on 6-7 September 2001. They hoped that the Abuja meeting would make progress towards reaching a solution which would benefit all the people of Zimbabwe.
4. The Ministers decided that CMAG would review developments in Zimbabwe when the Group met on 5 October 2001 immediately prior to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Brisbane, Australia.
01/52 4 September 2001