Inside Politics

Baird's office offers context, but no apology following Maldivian complaint

Earlier today, Maldivian President Mohamed Waheed lodged a formal complaint with the Canadian government over what he is apparently claiming were "inappropriate and derogatory remarks" allegedly made by John Baird to the Maldivian foreign affairs minister during a closed-door meeting of Commonwealth ministers last week. 

Baird's communications director, however, provided a very different -- and, it's fair to say, far more detailed -- account of what went on behind closed doors at the meeting in question:

At the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) meeting in New York, Minister Baird outlined Canada's strong concerns by the delay of the Maldives' runoff election scheduled for September 28 and by reports of violence and intimidation.

He also pointed out the irony of the Acting Foreign Minister of the Maldives representing that country at CMAG, when her President received 5% of the vote in the first round of the election. Perhaps that is where President Waheed took offence.
It might have also been when Minister Baird pointed out to CMAG members that the second round of elections have been "suspended" under mysterious circumstances and called on Maldivian officials to proceed with the second round of elections without delay.

We believe that this delay is troublesome and can only lead to more instability; which is exactly what we have seen in recent days.

This is not the first time the Minister has raised these concerns, in fact, Minister Baird has been one of the most outspoken foreign ministers of the Commonwealth on the democratic deficit in the Maldives, and will continue to speak out
The Minister believes that countries within the Commonwealth should adhere to a certain standard of values and principles which is clearly lacking in the Maldives.

Canada supports the people of the Maldives, and that judicial authorities and security forces must not unduly delay the expression of their democratic will.

To put the fracas in even more context, Baird's office also helpfully provided links to his previous statements on Maldivian matters:

Tags: blackberry jungle, diplomacy, john baird, maldives

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