Facing coup charges, the Maldives' new regime on Monday said it was open to any independent probe into transfer of power in the country, where the Commonwealth is sending a fact-finding team amid efforts by nations like India to resolve the political crisis here.
Nearly a week after Mohammed Nasheed, the country's first democratically-elected President, stepped down in what he claimed was a coup d'etat, the 54-nation Commonwealth grouping announced that it would "urgently" send a ministerial mission to the Maldives to probe circumstances of Nasheed's ouster.
The Commonwealth's decision came after an emergency telephone conference of the nine-member Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG).
CMAG, in its "extraordinary" session, agreed to constitute a ministerial mission which will visit the Maldives "urgently to ascertain the facts surrounding the transfer of power, and to promote adherence to Commonwealth values and principles," the Commonwealth Secretariat said in a statement issued in London.
It stressed that the way forward must be determined by Maldivians themselves, through inclusive political dialogue in an atmosphere of non-violence, restraint and stability.
"CMAG recognised the impressive gains made by Maldives in recent years in consolidating multi-party democracy, and expressed solidarity with the people of Maldives to select a government of their choice through democratic means," it said.
Reacting to the Commonwealth announcement, Maldivian government spokesman Masood Imad said that new President Mohamed Waheed has agreed to a Commonwealth ministerial probe into the fall of his predecessor Nasheed.
"We welcome the decision. We are completely transparent. We have already said that we would welcome any independent probe into the turn of events," he said.