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* Commonwealth Secretary-General starts visit to Sri Lanka
Sun, Feb 10, 2013, 10:03 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 10, Colombo: Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma Sunday commenced his four-day official visit to Sri Lanka from February 10 to 13 expecting to discuss issues of mutual interest between Sri Lanka and the Commonwealth.

The Secretary-General will discuss matters of shared interest between Sri Lanka and the Commonwealth, including the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) which takes place in Sri Lanka in November, his spokesman and Director of Communications and Public Affairs Richard Uku announced today in Colombo.

The Secretary-General is scheduled to meet with the President, the Speaker of Parliament and the Minister of External Affairs during his visit to Colombo.

The Commonwealth head is expected to raise issues regarding the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary after the government impeached the country's first female Chief Justice last month.

The Secretary-General's visit comes amid calls by Canada and other special interest groups to boycott the CHOGM in Sri Lanka and the uncertainty of Britain whether it will attend the 54-nation summit.

His spokesman said Sharma will review organizational preparations for CHOGM and discuss possible outcomes that Sri Lanka and Commonwealth leaders will want to achieve at the summit.

"We want the 2013 summit to achieve significant outcomes for all members. It should show ways in which all Commonwealth citizens - be they city dwellers or residents of remote communities - can increasingly become beneficiaries of national development and growth, and be confident that they can shape their societies through democratic culture and processes. Development and democracy are mutually reinforcing," Uku said in a statement.

According to the spokesman, the Secretary-General is expected to discuss, among other issues, options for advancing Commonwealth values and principles, including the independence of the judiciary and the separation of powers.

** Related Story :: Commonwealth expresses concern over Sri Lanka\'s move to impeach Chief Justice



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