Sharma says CHOGM in Lanka as scheduled

The Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting (CHOGM) will take place in Sri Lanka next year as scheduled, Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma told reporters this evening.

He said that during his just concluded visit to Sri Lanka he had visited most of the venues to be used for the event next year and was largely satisfied.

Sharma was briefed by External Affairs Minister G.L Peiris regarding the preparations for the conference next year as well as the proposed theme.

Asked about concerns raised by Canada over the human rights situation in Sri Lanka and an attempt by the Canadian Prime Minister to boycott the event, Sharma said in his view all would be preferred if all heads of state from the Commonwealth attended CHOGM.

“Of course it is upto the respective countries to decide if their heads of state want to attend or not,” Sharma said.

He also said that the Commonwealth will assist Sri Lanka to strengthen the Elections Commission and the National Human Rights Commission.

Sharma was to meet President Mahinda Rajapaksa late this evening before leaving Sri Lanka.

 

Report by Easwaran Rutnam