In an apparent snub of the Canadian Premier’s statement on his attendance at CHOGM, the Commonwealth Secretariat says it respects Ottawa’s position and looks forward to a broad based participation and a successful summit in Colombo next month.
“It is up to each member country to determine its level of representation at CHOGM. Canada has made that determination and we respect its decision,” Commonwealth Spokesperson Richard Uku said in a statement.
Uku noted that the Commonwealth Heads of Government collectively decided in Port of Spain in 2009 that Sri Lanka would host the 2013 CHOGM. The leaders confirmed their decision when they met again in Perth in 2011.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced yesterday from Bali that he would be sending low level representation to the CHOGM in Colombo, a move that does not seem to disturb the Secretariat at all, as per Uku’s statement.
“The Commonwealth Secretary-General looks forward to the participation of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and for International Human Rights, who will represent Canada at the meeting in Colombo,” the Spokesperson said.
Prime Minister Harper also announced that his Government would review funding to the Commonwealth Secretariat and programmes over the organisation’s decision to hold the major summit in Colombo that is accused of major violations of international humanitarian law.
Canada is the second largest contributor to the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth Spokesman has made no comment on Ottawa’s funding threat in his statement.