Sri Lanka, Commonwealth discuss 2013 Summit arrangements

Tuesday, 11 September 2012 01:23 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Kamalesh Sharma yesterday called on Minister of External Affairs Professor G.L Peiris. The Secretary-General is in Sri Lanka to attend the 58th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference currently being held in Colombo.

The Secretary-General discussed with Minister Peiris the arrangements for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting which will be held in Sri Lanka in November next year.

Minister Peiris conveyed to the Secretary-General the wish of President Mahinda Rajapaksa that CHOGM 2013 should have an economic focus, with particular emphasis on youth entrepreneurship in the rural sector. He said that since the majority of Commonwealth members are developing countries, with an interest in developing their rural economies and empowering their rural populations to achieve higher development targets, a development oriented theme of creating wealth and opportunity for all, will have resonance with many.

The Secretary-General and Minister Peiris reviewed the extensive logistical arrangements already under way for the Summit. In the interest of completeness, plans are being made for the holding of a Commonwealth Youth Forum and a Commonwealth People’s Forum as part of the event. The Minister informed the Secretary-General that the Subcommittee on Media and Publicity has called for designs of the CHOGM website and logo from the general public.

He said that a briefing will be provided for Commonwealth Member Countries on the preparations under way to host CHOGM 2013 at the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers’ meeting which will be held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly later this month in New York.

Prof. Peiris gave Secretary-General Sharma particulars with regard to the discussions he held in London last week with Commonwealth Business Council Chairman Dr. Mohan Kaul regarding arrangements for the Commonwealth Business Forum which will be held in Colombo to coincide with CHOGM.

The Secretary-General had extensive discussions with the National Task Force chaired by the Secretary to the President. The Task Force is keeping under constant review the arrangements for the Summit.

Minister Peiris told the Secretary-General that Sri Lanka looks forward to welcoming Heads of Government of the Commonwealth and all other delegates to Sri Lanka next year.