Oct 07, Bali: Australia's new Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Monday he 'certainly' intend to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka next month and make a positive contribution.
"Certainly I intend to attend CHOGM and will do my best to make a constructive contribution to the deliberations there," Abbott said at a media conference in Bali Indonesia today where he is taking part in the APEC conference.
Responding to media queries whether the Australian PM would press Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to drop his boycott of the CHOGM during his meeting with Harper, Abbott said he thought Harper is doing an outstanding job leading a very strong and effective government but whether Harper attends CHOGM is really a matter for him.
Disagreeing with his Canadian counterpart, Abbott said Commonwealth is an important forum and there is a familiarity amongst members of the Commonwealth which doesn't always exist in every other forum.
"I think it's important that those friends we have, we should keep. You do not make new friends by rubbishing your old friends or abandoning your old friends," Abbott said.
Abbott expressed his incoming coalition government's support to the Commonwealth promising to take the 54-member organization "seriously".