Commonwealth enriched by Sri Lanka's membership - Sharma
Commonwealth is enriched by Sri Lanka's membership and the country also gains from access to the Commonwealth's networks of 54 member governments through the sharing of resources and experiences and opportunities, said Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma. Sharma issuing a statement over his visit to Sri Lanka to participate in the 58th CPA conference in Colombo said Sri Lanka is one of the eight founding members of the modern Commonwealth, and has a unique history and heritage which forms part of the rich diversity of the Commonwealth.
He said that the Commonwealth, as an association of peoples and governments, is enriched by Sri Lanka's membership. 'Sri Lanka contributes generously and also gains from access to the Commonwealth's networks of 54 member governments as well as professional associations and civil society through the sharing of resources, experiences and opportunities.
'I was touched and honoured to be received so warmly during my visit, from 9 to 13 September, and I depart with appreciation and also a deep and first-hand understanding of Sri Lanka's current national challenges and priorities', he said.
During my visit, I met with the President Mahindra Rajapaksa, External Affairs Minister Prof G.L. Peiris Monitoring MP for Ministry of External Affairs Sajin de Vass Gunawardena, Secretary to the President, Lalith Weeratunga, and other senior officials. I also met the Leader of the Opposition, Ranil Wickremesinghe, and the community of resident High Commissioners representing other Commonwealth member states.
Sharma said that he visited Thrikkovil in the Eastern province and he was briefed on an entrepreneurship project for young people located in former conflict areas involving the support of commercial banks and the industry bodies.
Excerpts from the statement 'My itinerary also included a visit to Thirukkovil in the Eastern Province, where I appreciated the opportunity to meet with local officials to be briefed on an entrepreneurship project for young people located in former conflict areas involving the support of commercial banks and the industry bodies, where the Commonwealth is set to become a partner in the extension of the project concept and to visit the Kanchiramkuda Resettlement Project.
All of my meetings were informative and valuable, and afforded the opportunity to gain an up-to-date perspective of how the
Commonwealth's work is viewed and how we may be of greater assistance and relevance to all Sri Lankans.
Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference My visit coincided with the 58th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference, which I was very pleased to address on the theme of ensuring that the Commonwealth continues to be relevant to the times and the citizens of its member states worldwide.
We are at present giving effect to a series of reforms to sharpen the impact, raise the profile and strengthen the networks of the Commonwealth. In particular, we are committed to working in closer partnership with the family of accredited Commonwealth organisations, including the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.
My visit provided an opportunity to be briefed on the Sri Lankan Government's preparations for its hosting of the CHOGM next year. I visited some of the proposed venues. The logistical arrangements are well in hand, as is the state of readiness of the various venues that will be used.
The Sri Lankan Government wishes to have a development orientation to the discussions and outcomes of the 2013 CHOGM, with a focus on drawing non-urban communities more meaningfully as participants into national life and as beneficiaries of national growth and development.
This thematic orientation is likely to have strong appeal to Heads of Government from across the Commonwealth, especially in developing and small states, where the challenges of providing national services and economic opportunities to remote communities is felt strongly.