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* Sri Lankan Minister discusses Commonwealth priorities with Secretary General
Wed, Mar 12, 2014, 12:28 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 11, London: Sri Lanka's Minister of External Affairs Prof. G. L. Peiris today discussed the priorities of the Commonwealth for the next two years with the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Kamalesh Sharma.

Prof. Peiris representing the President, who is the Chair-In-Office of the Commonwealth, discussed with Secretary-General Sharma some broad ideas about how the organization could develop a road map to meet the expectations of the people of the Commonwealth members, External Affairs Ministry said in a statement Tuesday.

The Sri Lankan Minister had informally consulted several colleagues representing Commonwealth countries regarding priorities as to projects and activities contemplated during the next two years. The Commonwealth Heads of Government at their Summit held in Sri Lanka in November last year had endorsed many initiatives, he said.

Referring to the Colombo Declaration on Sustainable, Inclusive and Equitable Development made at the Commonwealth Summit in Sri Lanka, Minister Peiris has discussed practical strategies to ensure that the benefits of economic development are available to be shared for all the sections of society, particularly among youth and in the rural sector.

Discussing Sri Lanka's commitment to the youth and grassroots project initiated to harness the potential of youth in terms of employment opportunity and financial inclusion, the Minister has informed the Secretary General that preparations are well underway for the World Youth Conference to be held in Sri Lanka in May this year.

Minister Peiris referred to the initiative by Sri Lanka to host the Commonwealth Ministerial Meeting on Small States at CHOGM 2013 as a measure of assistance to this category of countries which comprise 31 out of the 53 countries of the Commonwealth.

The meeting of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group will take place in London later this week. Sri Lanka, as Chair-in-Office, is a member of the Group. The other members are Tanzania, New Zealand, Sierra Leone, India, Pakistan, Guyana, Cyprus and Solomon Islands.

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