Apr 12, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena is due to leave for the UK to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2018 to be held in London.
President Sirisena, accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Tilak Marapana will join the Heads of Government of the 53-member Commonwealth at the CHOGM 2018 that is to convene in London from 16-20 April 2018.
The week-long summit is expected to attract around 5,000 participants from government, business, and civil society under the theme 'Towards a Common Future'.
President Sirisena's participation at the CHOGM will focus on reaffirming Sri Lanka's firm commitment to the Commonwealth and deepening Sri Lanka's partnership with the Organization as well as with each individual member nation.
The formal opening of CHOGM takes place at Buckingham Palace on Thursday (19) morning after which leaders will convene for their first executive session.
On Friday morning, the Commonwealth Games Federation will host a breakfast for heads of government. The summit concludes later that day when leaders will issue their communique and a leaders' statement after their retreat.
The President's engagements will include the Heads of Government meeting on 19 April, the leaders retreat on 20 April, and addressing the Commonwealth Business Forum as the keynote speaker on 18 April on the theme "Delivering the SDGs: Aligning Business, Society and the Governments".
During his visit Sri Lankan President is also expected to meet British Prime Minister Theresa May and several other heads of Commonwealth states attending the summit.
Over 50 entrepreneurs from Sri Lanka, mainly from the small and medium enterprise sector, will participate in the Commonwealth Business Forum, positioning Sri Lanka as a trade and investment hub in South Asia to gain the Commonwealth trade advantage. The Business Forum is expected to make a compelling case for free and inclusive trade as the best way to promote higher living standards around the world.
Sri Lanka will become a champion country in the Commonwealth Blue Charter initiative and engage with other member countries in developing a cohesive ocean strategy for the sustenance of the blue economy. A key area where Sri Lanka has expressed interest in spearheading action in this connection is in the restoration of mangroves.
The President during his visit will also attend a special commemorative event to mark the 92rd birthday of British Queen Elizabeth II.
CHOGM takes place every two years in different Commonwealth countries. The last CHOGM was held in Malta which is the current chair and at this year's summit the chairmanship will be handed over to the UK. The next host country will be decided at next week's summit.