The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), which met in an “extraordinary session” in London on Wednesday to discuss the situation in Maldives, urged President Waheed Hassan and his predecessor Mohamed Nasheed to start an immediate dialogue without preconditions so that early “peaceful, inclusive and credible elections” could be held.

The elections “should take place within this calendar year”, it said.

The Group expressed “strong concern at the continuing impact of the warrant of arrest” against Mr. Nasheed.

“This issue be addressed in order that his ability to participate fully in the electoral process is not prejudiced,’’ it said.

It also stressed that an independent and impartial investigation into recent events should be completed in “a transparent manner within a reasonable timeframe’’.

Noting that President Waheed had announced a three-member commission of inquiry, the Group said it “strongly felt that there should be international participation in any investigative mechanism, as may be mutually agreed by political parties”.

The Group discussed the report of a three-member ministerial mission which visited Maldives last week to determine the facts surrounding the transfer of power and “to promote adherence to Commonwealth values and principles”.

It was led by Dr. Surujrattan Rambachan, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Communications of Trinidad and Tobago who also chaired the meeting.

In a statement after the meeting, the Group said: “Having considered the report of the mission and reviewed all the information made available to it, CMAG agreed that it was not possible, in the allotted time, to determine conclusively the constitutionality of the resignation of President Nasheed on 7 February 2012. The Group therefore agreed that an independent and impartial investigation of the events of 6-7 February should be completed in a transparent manner within a reasonable timeframe.”

It urged all concerned to show restraint and take immediate steps to seek “an inclusive agreement on the way forward”. The Group decided to review the situation next month.

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