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All member countries will participate at CHOGM - External Affairs Ministry Secretary

All 54 member countries of Commonwealth will participate in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka in November this year, External Affairs Ministry Secretary Karunathilaka Amunugama yesterday said.

“The External Affairs Ministry will send invitations to member states within the next two weeks, “he said.

“Preparatory arrangements are being made for the Summit even as we speak,” said Amunugama. “We are waiting to welcome all member states to our country.” He said,” We are sure that this will provide them an opportunity to experience the social and economic development taking place in Sri Lanka as well as the peace achieved through post-war efforts at reconciliation to achieve social and political stability,”

Asked if there were any countries that are trying to boycott the meeting, especially, Canada that has not only raised their concerns. but, also urged other countries to stay away from participating in the CHOGM in Colombo on account of various reports of human rights allegations raised by the Tamil diaspora, Amunugama said, “ There has never been a problem of Canada’s participation in the meeting except that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper had reportedly told the media that he would not attend the meeting on similar accounts.”

“I am one hundred percent sure that all countries are eager to participate in the the forthcoming bi-annual CHOGM sessions in Sri Lanka.

There is no question of Canada’s participation. The problem is with the level of participation.” “What I can tell you right now is that there have been positive signs with regard to the level of participation.

We expect a very high level of participation,” he explained. All member states of the Commonwealth are expected to send their Prime Ministers.

“The way I see it is that any country can indicate that they are concerned about some conditions, such as, human rights improvements in another country due to various reasons.

When they see that the conditions have changed or improved, the outcome could also change, “ pointed out Amunugama. “ “There are positive signs from all Commonwealth countries to participate at the meeting.

“They have indicated their goodwill and support to us,” added Amunugama.

Asked if the External Affairs Ministry is expecting a UN investigation team to visit Sri Lanka prior to Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting , Amunugama said, ” the UN teams may visit Sri Lanka.

These visits are separate and are not to be confused with CHOGM as the latter has its own significance.

 

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