PM joins 25th Commonwealth meeting
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina joins the heads of governments Commonwealth nations as Queen Elizabeth- II opened their 25th summit welcoming the leaders to "my own home" at Buckingham Palace.
London hosts the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) for the first time in 20 years, a move seen as a chance for Britain to reconnect with its former colonies and revitalize the loose alliance of Commonwealth countries ahead of Brexit. Reports BSS.
"Commonwealth is growing stronger year by year . . . I believe we'll secure a safer and more prosperous and sustainable world for the future generation," the Queen said while declaring open the meet with its theme being "Towards a Common Future".
Issues to feature the 53-member grouping's two-day summit include ocean conservation, cyber security, trade, plastic waste issue and the Queen's successor as the Commonwealth head while Elizabeth backed her son Prince Charles to take on her role in the Commonwealth.
"It is my sincere wish that the Commonwealth will continue to offer stability and continuity for future generations and will decide that one day the Prince of Wales should carry on the important work started by my father in 1949," the queen said at the formal opening of the event.
Downing Street earlier said a decision on whether Charles should succeed his mother as Commonwealth head was expected from the heads of the member states on Friday while media reports suggest the mood was that Charles will get their backing.
Prince Charles, British Premier Theresa May and Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland QC also addressed the opening event that began amid a spectacle of pomp and pageantry with a guard of honor and flag bearers displaying the flags of the member states.
More than 100 officers and soldiers from the Coldstream Guards offered the honor guard, wearing their famous scarlet tunics and bearskins, alongside the Band and Corps of Drums.
Following the opening, the Commonwealth leaders are to participate in three executive sessions at Lancaster House.
The Commonwealth leaders will later attend the official reception to be hosted by British Premier Theresa May and Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland QC at the Lancaster House while they would join another reception of the Commonwealth secretary general at St James Palace in the afternoon.
Besides, the summit will give special attention to the areas of prosperity, security, fairness and sustainability to achieve the goals of Commonwealth countries.
The position of Commonwealth Chair-in-office, held by the government leader of the CHOGM host country, will be transferred at the summit from the Prime Minister of Malta Dr Joseph Muscat to British premier May who will hold the post until the 26th CHOGM expected in 2020.
The 25th CHOGM which was originally to be hosted by Vanuatu at the end of 2017, but the UK eventually appeared to be the host as devastating cyclone Pam damaged the Pacific island nation's infrastructure.
The Commonwealth leaders joined in their first CHOGM in 1971 in Singapore while the last one was hosted by Malta in 2015 as the summit is held once every two years in member states on rotation basis but this pattern has twice been interrupted so far.