H.E. President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete of the United Republic of Tanzania greets his counterpart H.E. Mahinda Rajapaksa of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka during the opening ceremony of the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at the Nelum Pokuna, Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre, Colombo, today November 15, 2013. (Photo courtesy of the Commonwealth Secretariat)
H.E. President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete (right) as he participates in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting which was officially opened today by Chairperson-in-office H.E. President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka. Also in the photo is UK Foreign Minister William Hague (left).
Various traditional dancers who have gathered outside the Nelum Pokuna, Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre for the CHOGM 2013 opening ceremony in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Tanzania delegates outside the Nelum Pokuna, Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre.
The 2013 CHOGM officially kicks off
By Tagie Daisy Mwakawago
Colombo, Sri Lanka
The Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa officially inaugurated the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) this morning, an event that was widely attended by world dignitaries that included Tanzania President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete.
The event was held at the Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre in Colombo City, under the main theme of "Growth with Equity; Inclusive Development."
In response to the foreign media questions about world leaders attendance, the Sri Lankan President said that he welcomed the international community to ascertain the ground situation and that his country has nothing to hide from the international community.
"The country is on the right path to development, after putting an end to continuous brutal killings and bomb blasts by terrorists," said President Rajapaksa during the pre-CHOGM press conference held yesterday November 14 at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall in Colombo City.
The Sri Lankan President further explained that his Government will not hesitate to take any action against anybody who violates human rights. "My country is committed to uphold Commonwealth values of democracy, rule of law and good governance in the shared vision of bringing better opportunities for people around the world," said President Rajapaksa.
He further noted the need for his Government to address other challenges such as the role of civil society in development, public-private partnership for wealth creation and enhancing the participation of youth in development and international trade.
Meanwhile, other dignitaries from cross paths of the world have arrived in numbers since yesterday November 14, to the latter of Presidents of Rwanda, South Africa and Cyprus, Vice Presidents from Malawi and Nigerian, Prime Ministers from New Zealand, Pakistan and Malaysia, as well as Prince Charles of the Wales who is here on behalf of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. Prince Charles is accompanied by wife Lady Camilla Parker Bowles, the Duchess of Cornwall.
Tanzania delegation, led by President Kikwete has participated in the Commonwealth Leaders’ meeting, the Business Forum, the Youth Forum and the two roundtable discussions with topic of opportunities available in Tanzania and how public and private sectors can collaborate to strengthen economic cooperation.
On the same margin of CHOGM week, the Public Administration and Home Affairs Ministry of Sri Lanka has put a request towards its citizens to hoist the National Flag of their country, in commemoration of the Commonwealth summit and the third anniversary of the second term of their President. The said notice also requests the commemoration to begin November 14 to 19, 2013 when CHOGM ends.