Apr 292013

Leading News from Sri Lanka::

* Sri Lanka gets busy making arrangements to hold Commonwealth meetingMon, Apr 29, 2013, 08:36 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Apr 29, Colombo: Arrangements to hold the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo in November this year are well under way by a special task committee, Director of the Public Information Unit of the Ministry of External Affairs Sarath Dissanayake says.

The Commonwealth Heads of State Summit will be held on the 15th, 16th and 17th of November at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) in Colombo.

Australian Prime Minister, the current President of the CHOGM, will officially handover the presidency to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the 15th of November. This is the first time Sri Lanka gets the presidency of the Commonwealth Heads of State Summit.

The State Leaders’ Summit, Foreign Ministers’ meeting and Foreign Secretaries’ meeting will be held in Colombo while the Youth Forum will be held in Hambantota. The Peoples’ Forum is scheduled to be held in Dambulla.

The organization activities will be done by a special task committee comprising representatives of Ministries of Defence and External Affairs.

Meanwhile, Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the BMICH Bandula Ekanayake said the renovation of the BMICH will be completed by next October before the summit.

Leaders of 54 nations in the Commonwealth and the head of the Commonwealth, the Queen or a representative of the Queen are expected to attend the main summit.

Despite Canada’s strong opposition and call to boycott the summit in Colombo, all other members of the Commonwealth have decided to attend the CHOGM in Sri Lanka.

Australia’s Foreign Minister Senator Bob Carr said Australia will not boycott the CHOGM while New Zealand Prime Minister John Key confirmed that it will attend the meeting in Sri Lanka later this year despite the controversy over the allegations of human rights violations.

The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Kamalesh Sharma said that he is satisfied with Sri Lanka’s progress in addressing the issues and reiterated the Commonwealth’s support for Sri Lanka to improve in all the areas of human rights, of rule of law, of governance, and institution building and strengthening.

He confirmed that no member government had indicated that it wishes to change the venue despite Canada’s vehement opposition to holding CHOGM in Colombo.

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