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Dipu Moni welcomes next Commonwealth Summit in Sri Lanka

Bangladesh Foreign Minister, Dr. Dipu Moni, MP welcomed preparations made so far for the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to be held in Sri Lanka in November 2013. She made this remark as she was speaking at the Eleventh Session of the Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting (CFAMM) in New York yesterday after a briefing made by the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister on the preparations.

Dr. Dipu Moni said that she was particularly happy to see CHOGM coming back to South Asia after a lapse of 30 years since the last one held in India in 1983. The Foreign Minister noted that the Sri Lanka was on track in its logistical preparation. She also hoped that the Summit will provide important guidelines for implementation of the various reform measures set in motion by the CHOGM 2011 in Perth. She wished the Sri Lankan government the very best for success in hosting the landmark event in November 2013.

Dr. Moni also presented an oral report at the CFAMM on the work of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) on Options for Enhancing Commonwealth Political Values in her capacity as the Chair of CMAG. She recalled that there was no consensus in the CHOGM 2011 in Perth on the proposal of the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) for establishment of a position of the Commonwealth Commissioner for Democracy, the Rule of Law and Human Rights. The leaders at the CHOGM 2011 tasked Secretary General and CMAG to ‘further evaluate relevant options relating to EPG’s Commissioner proposal’. Accordingly, CMAG and Secretary General worked together to find ways and means to enhance their access to reliable and relevant information so as to respond effectively to situations of concern in member states, notably through direct hearing from the Special Envoys of the Secretary General.

At this session, the CFAMM concluded the final consideration of 106 recommendations of EPG that were presented to the CHOGM 2011. One of the key and visible outcome of this process is the finalization of the ‘Charter of the Commonwealth’. The non-binding Charter is expected to be adopted by the leaders of the member states through a silence procedure. This is the first time that the Commonwealth is going to have a Charter. Bangladesh has valuable contribution to the drafting process for the Charter. Bangladesh had conducted national consultations on the draft Cha in March 2012 participation from the government, civil society and the think-tanks. The outcome of the national consultations was forwarded as input for the draft Charter. Bangladesh delegation also contributed to the negotiation on the draft Charter at the senior officials meeting of the Commonwealth in April 2012.

The Foreign Minister also accompanied Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during her bilateral meetings with Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban ki-Moon and President of the 67th UNGA , Mr. Vuk Jeremic.

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