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POSTED AT 07:33 AM 15-04-2018

President to attend CHOGM summit, key issues on agenda

Image Courtesy: Colombo Telegraph

President Maithripala Sirisena will leave for Britain today to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2018 which will be held from April 16 to 20 in London. This year’s summit with the theme “Towards a Common Future” comes at a time when Britain is finalising plans to pull out of the European Union (EU) and foster closer ties with Commonwealth nations.

On the agenda are pressing issues such as the reinforcement of cooperation in various areas, united efforts to deal with security issies, organised crime, cyber criminality, climate change, good governance, promotion of democracy and fundamental liberties.During his visit, President Sirisena is expected to meet British Prime Minister Theresa May and several other heads of Commonwealth states attending the summit for bilateral talks.

This is the President’s second visit to Britain after taking office. He paid a four-day official visit to Britain in March, 2015. “President Sirisena’s participation at the CHOGM will be focused on reaffirming Sri Lanka’s firm commitment to the Commonwealth and deepening Sri Lanka’s partnership with the organization as well as with each individual member nation,” the Foreign Ministry said.

The President’s engagements will include the Heads of Government meeting on April 19, the leaders retreat on April 20, and addressing the Commonwealth Business Forum as the keynote speaker on April 18 on the theme “Delivering the SDGs: Aligning Business, Society and the Governments”.

More than 50 entrepreneurs from Sri Lanka, mainly from the small and medium enterprise sector, will participate in the Commonwealth Business Forum, positioning Sri Lanka as a trade and investment hub in South Asia to gain the Commonwealth trade advantage. The Business Forum is expected to make a compelling case for free and inclusive trade as the best way to promote higher living standards around the world. Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana will accompany the President.