Look forward to working closely with member states, says President as CHOGM concludes

Look forward to working closely with member states, says President as CHOGM concludes

Look forward to working closely with member states, says President as CHOGM concludes

Written by Staff Writer

17 Nov, 2013 | 8:08 pm

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting concluded in Colombo this evening.
 
CHOGM 2013 began on Friday with the heads of Governments of Commonwealth Nations taking part in the two-day summit.
 
At a press conference convened in Colombo this evening, the fifteen-point Colombo declaration on Sustainable, Inclusive and Equitable Development was announced.
 
In the declaration, the Commonwealth Heads of Governments recognised that accelerating growth has become a central to policy efforts globally.
 
The press conference was presided by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of South Africa Jacob Zuma, several other heads of states and the Secretary General of the Commonwealth Kamalesh Sharma.
 
The Colombo Declaration also reaffirms the right to development for all individuals, and commit themselves to eliminate disparities and focus on making growth more inclusive for all, including vulnerable groups, women, youth and the differently abled.
 
The Colombo Declaration also recalls the Millennium Declaration and the outcome of the United Nations General Assembly special event on the MDGs.
 
Speaking at the press conference, President Rajapaksa stated,
 
“Earlier today the Commonwealth Heads adopted the Colombo Communique based on the theme Growth with Equity : Inclusive Development. Capturing a wide range of relevant topics, particularly in the context of the forthcoming development agenda. Issues covered in the communique include development, political values, global threats and challenges and Commonwealth collaboration. As Chair in office for the next two years we will like to pursue initiatives that will assist member states in realising their development priorities, we look forward to working closely with member states in this endeavour”
 
Commonwealth Secretary, General Kamalesh Sharma stated,
 
“On Commonwealth collaboration, there is a norm partnership initiative, it will be a contemporary platform to unlock potential bilateral country to country co-operation and creation of collaboration of member states with online resource on the Commonwealth Secretariat We based platform, Commonwealth Connects to take advantage of the enormous collaborative capacities that have arisen within member states in recent years. The Orientation of the Commonwealth is a very simple one, We work together with the member states to the advancement and the adherence to our shared values”
 
President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma
 
“The theme chosen by Sri Lanka Growth with Equity : Inclusive Development, we found it resonating with the South Africa’s National and Africa Agenda as well as the International development frameworks. So it is a theme that really attached all of us and were therefore able to discuss a number of issue. Some of the issues discussed include climate change issues. With regard to the capitalization and the ope-rationalization of the climate fund we should believe is an important step and important taking forth that agreement. We also discussed the plight of the small states and less developed states, also which is an issue that features generally in our agenda, this time I think it was discussed quite strongly”
 
The Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Tun Abdul Razak said,
 
“I sense there is a reaffirmation of the spirit and ideals of the Commonwealth. Not only in terms of the uniqueness of this collection of countries and nations based on our shared history, but the core values of the Commonwealth. Namely democracy , rule of law and human rights. And also the desire whilst we move forward and recognize the fact that we are different, we should not be divided. And the fact we are different we should not be divided. I sense that there is that spirit and willingness of that wanting to stay together as unique collection of nations”
 
President of Guyana, Donald Ramotar stated,
 
“The diversity and the unity of the commonwealth that makes it a very important organization in lending towards the resolution of many important global issues that confront mankind in our day. And for that reason I endorse my colleagues remarks on the theme that we met this time because in a way I would say that poverty and inequality are probably at the root of many of the issues that we faced today .And the fact that is theme suggested by Sri Lanka was able to focus us on some of the root causes of the problems in our world today”
 
Meanwhile, a question by News1st Shameer Rasooldeen, was posed to the President on certain countries arriving in Sri Lanka to assess Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Situation.
 
Q: Tell us, enlighten us about the reasons behind those attending the Commonwealth because we know that there were two reasons for some countries to attend the Commonwealth, that is to attend CHOGM and also to assess Sri Lanka’s human rights situation. Reference to Britain, Britain arrived in Sri Lanka to attend the CHOGM, the British Prime Minister was in attendance of the opening ceremony of the CHOGM, however, he did not attend the executive sessions but flew to Jaffna. In your opinion how do you view this? Does this in any way affect or reflect the Commonwealth values and principles?
 
In reply President Rajapaksa said,
 
“Any country will be very sensitive to references made to any particular country and even Sri Lanka is sensitive, whether it is human rights or any other thing. You must remember that we also have a system, we have a legal system that is old as, how many years. You know it. So we have a constitution, we have to oblige and we have to respect our constitution. So we will be doing it. The time we have already started this, the process has already started. So it will take time. This is what I said. This is not a thing you can start today and finish it tomorrow. The war was going on for 30 years. So we have to slowly build this. Get the people. We have to change the minds and the thinking of the people. Not only in the north but in the south too and the east. Whether it has been the Muslims that have been displaced, the Sinhalese who have been displaced and the Tamils. They are all my people. My Citizens. I have to look after them. So it is my responsibility to have a hand. So I will do it. You cannot say tomorrow, do it within one week or three months of four months. That is very unfair. Everyone is very sensitive. And we respect the values of the commonwealth, we are members of the Commonwealth”
 

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