Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma announced today the appointment of the Rt Hon Sir Donald McKinnon as his Special Envoy to Maldives, following consultations with political leaders in Maldives.
“These are very serious times for Maldives. Co-operation and a shared sense of national interest are required, as well as restraint. Our Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group is understandably deeply concerned, and is committed to working with Maldives in a constructive and positive way. The Commonwealth at large is fully committed to assisting Maldives,” said the Secretary-General.
“Maldives has committed itself to the Commonwealth’s values and principles, which include constitutional democracy, the rule of law and separation of powers, and human rights. Our principles include consensus and common action, mutual respect, legitimacy, transparency and accountability. These are the foundations on which an enduringly prosperous and peaceful future for Maldives can be built.”
“I am delighted that Sir Donald has agreed to serve as my Special Envoy. He will visit Maldives to promote the consolidation of democratic culture and institutions, and Commonwealth values and principles; to encourage inclusive agreement among political leaders on a way forward from the current political situation; and, to oversee further Commonwealth support for Maldives, including a new technical assistance programme aimed principally at strengthening the judiciary,” said Mr Sharma.
Note to Editors
The appointment of Sir Donald as Special Envoy to Maldives follows from discussions at the extraordinary meeting of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) on 22 February 2012 to discuss the findings of a three-member CMAG mission to Maldives from 17-19 February 2012. At this meeting, CMAG welcomed the Secretary-General’s intent to appoint a Special Envoy.
Sir Donald McKinnon is a former Commonwealth Secretary-General (2000-2008), and former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand. During his tenure as Secretary-General, he led the Commonwealth’s support for Maldives’ transition to multiparty democracy. He previously brokered a peace accord in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, for which he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Sir Donald has been decorated with the highest award in New Zealand (Order of New Zealand) and also by HM The Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, with the Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO).
The Rt Hon Sir Donald McKinnon, ONZ, GCVO, served as a Member of the New Zealand Parliament from 1978 to 2000. Apart from holding the post of Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Sir Donald also served as Minister of Pacific Island Affairs and Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control.