Commonwealth opens doors to wider links

source: Telegraph (UK)
By David Blair in Kampala
Last Updated: 1:44am GMT 26/11/2007

Commonwealth leaders agreed an historic reform yesterday by formally dropping the requirement for members to be former British colonies.

The decision came on the last day of the Commonwealth summit in Uganda’s capital Kampala. For the first time, the 52 member states set down conditions for membership.

The Commonwealth’s origins were devised at conferences held in the early 20th century by British Empire prime ministers in London.

But numerous countries with no links to Britain are expressing an interest in joining.

They include Rwanda, colonised by Germany and then Belgium, which dropped French as its official language and will probably be admitted at the next summit in 2009.

In their final communiqué, Commonwealth leaders said that an “applicant country should, as a general rule, have had an historic constitutional association with an existing Commonwealth member”. A link with [continue reading]

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