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Friday, 15 February 2013

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Bangladesh PM wishes CHOGM every success

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, expressing appreciation of the noteworthy progress achieved by Sri Lanka during the brief period since the eradication of terrorism, said she is looking forward to attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka in November this year. She wished the Summit all success, adding that her government would do everything in its power to ensure an entirely positive outcome.

She made these remarks when External Affairs Minister Prof G L Peiris called on her at the Prime Minister’s Office in Dhaka on Thursday, during his two-day official visit to Bangladesh.

Prof. Peiris briefed her comprehensively on the discussions which the government of Sri Lanka held with Kamalesh Sharma, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, during his visit to Colombo this week.

He explained to the Prime Minister plans being made by Sri Lanka to ensure that the themes and the emphasis of the discussions at the upcoming Summit would yield results which are immediately

beneficial to all Member States of the Commonwealth, especially developing nations which comprise the overwhelming majority of the Commonwealth.

Recalling with pleasure his previous meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina when he visited Dhaka in August last year to deliver a keynote address at the international seminar on “Development and People’s Empowerment” organized by the government of Bangladesh, Prof. Peiris made reference to her remarks on that occasion about the sustained initiatives on the part of her government to make banking and sound financial practices popular among the rural people.

In line with President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s strong emphasis on prosperity and innovation in the rural hinterland, Prof. Peiris said that, at his recent meeting in New Delhi with Prime Minister Dr .Manmohan Singh of India, he had expressed the emphatic support of the Government of Sri Lanka for the proposal by the Commonwealth Secretary-General with regard to the establishment of a Commonwealth Bank for Trade and Investment.

Entirely in keeping with priorities in countries like Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, he said that, throughout the deliberations at the Commonwealth Summit in Colombo, Sri Lanka will place stress on sustainability in respect of attainment of Millennium Development Goals, with particular reference to such areas as poverty alleviation, social mobility and climate change. Of special concern to the host country, Sri Lanka, he observed, are practical strategies for skills development through the spread of technology to enable talented youth to make the maximum use of opportunities now increasingly opening up in the wake of unprecedented development of highways, ports, harbours and other infrastructure.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that she found particularly useful the focus which Sri Lanka was placing on the Commonwealth Business Forum, to be held on the sidelines of the Summit. Minister Peiris briefed her, as well, on the arrangements currently being made for the People’s Forum, to be held in Dambulla and the Youth Forum, the venue of which will be Hambantota.

Prof. Peiris thanked the government of Bangladesh for its consistent support of Sri Lanka in international fora and especially for its intervention at the 14th Session of the Universal Periodic Review of Sri Lanka held in November last year.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina responded that she is convinced of the need for the international community to provide assistance and co-operation for Sri Lanka’s efforts to raise the social and economic standards of its people after overcoming the challenges of terrorism, and that her government will continue to support these efforts.

Bangladesh occupies the Chair of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group.

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