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Politics & press news – Embassy 2 – November 2007

High drama in Kampala

Transforming Commonwealth Societies to achieve political, economic and human development is the the theme of the upcoming CHOGM.

But it was the political situation of one troubled Commonwealth country – Pakistan – that dominated early proceedings with a Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group meeting on Thursday evening to deliberate on the fate of the South Asian country.

CMAG showed yet again it was not afraid to punish errant member states. Foreign ministers from Canada, Lesotho, Malaysia, Malta, Papua New Guinea, St Lucia, Sri Lanka, Britain and Tanzania decided the General had not done enough to save his country from suspension for a second time.

Earlier this month, CMAG issued an ultimatum to President Musharraf to lift emergency rule, doff his uniform, release political prisoners, ease restrictions on the media and hold elections.

Over the coming weekend, Commonwealth leaders will remain cloistered in a luxury resort to thrash out ideas. The host, Uganda, wants fairer trade rules to be on the agenda.

Also a topic of much debate will be the election of the successor to Secretary General Don McKinnon.

At present it is a three-horse race between India's High Commissioner to London Kamalesh Sharma, the head of the Commonwealth Business Council Mohan Kaul and Malta's foreign minister Michael Frendo.

The feeling is that it's time for the position to go to an Asian state, but the British-born Kaul has fought an effective campaign, while Frendo has strong support from many of the small states who account for 32 of the 53-member organisation.

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Michael Frendo
Mohan Kaul
Kamalesh Sharma
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