The 54-nation Commonwealth said on Sunday it would send a ministerial mission to the Maldives to investigate the facts surrounding the resignation of former President Mohamed Nasheed.

After holding urgent ministerial talks by telephone to discuss the crisis in the Indian Ocean archipelago, the Commonwealth said the way forward must be determined by Maldivians themselves, through inclusive political dialogue in an atmosphere of non-violence, restraint and stability.

The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, the organisation's guardian of democracy, said in a statement it had agreed to set up a ministerial mission which will visit Maldives urgently to ascertain the facts surrounding the transfer of power, and to promote adherence to Commonwealth values and principles.

(Reporting by Adrian Croft; Editing by Mohammed Abbas)