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Dhaka Tribune

Sheikh Hasina joins world leaders for Commonwealth leaders’ retreat in UK

Update : 20 Apr 2018, 09:43 PM
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday joined other heads of government for the Commonwealth leaders’ retreat at Windsor Castle, where heads of government have reportedly agreed to Prince Charles succeeding Queen Elizabeth II as the next Head of the organisation. The retreat, which will conclude the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in the UK, comprises of closed-door meetings where leaders meet without any pre-set agenda and without the presence of their usual set of advisers and civil servants. “At the retreat – unique to the Commonwealth – heads meet privately to discuss collaboration on global and Commonwealth priorities. They will also consider reform and renewal of the Commonwealth,” a Commonwealth statement said. The issue of succession was expected to be the dominant theme when the leaders gather at the grand Waterloo Chamber of the Castle, one of the many palaces of Britain’s Queen. She had expressed her “sincere wish” in her opening address for CHOGM on Thursday, that her son and heir, Prince Charles, step into her shoes, and a general consensus had built up around the 69-year-old royal. Bangladesh is also believed to have no objection to Prince Charles succeeding the Queen. The 91-year-old British monarch, who has ruled out long-haul travel, is unlikely to attend any future Commonwealth summits in far flung member-countries and is keen to pass the baton to the Prince of Wales. "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 will carry on the important work started by my father [King George VI] in 1949,” she had said in her speech at Buckingham Palace. The Commonwealth is one of the world’s oldest political association of states, with its roots in the British Empire when some countries were ruled directly or indirectly by Britain. Independent countries from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and the Pacific have joined The Commonwealth over the years. The retreat will mark an end to the week-long summit in Britain, which started on Monday with forums on the theme of business, women, youth, and civil society. Sheikh Hasina addressed the "Education to Empower" session of the Women’s Forum earlier in the week and gave an overview of the country's achievements in the field of girls' education as part of a panel on "Building Bridges." "Education for all will remain our prime objective as we graduate from a least developed country (LDC) status to a developing one, having met all the United Nations' requisites," she said. She then went on to attend the formal executive session of the heads of government meeting, themed around “Towards a Common Future”, which concluded in London on Thursday evening. On the sidelines, she held a nearly 30-minute one-on-one meeting with the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, during which the two leaders held talks on a wide range of bilateral issues, with a particular focus on development cooperation, according to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). “The broad contours of the discussions focused on development cooperation between India and Bangladesh as well as some follow up on the visits by both leaders to each other’s countries and the status of the implementation of the decisions taken during those visits,” an MEA spokesperson said. At the end of the retreat on Friday, leaders will issue their joint communique and a leaders’ statement, before Sheikh Hasina leaves for Dhaka. CHOGM takes place every two years in different Commonwealth countries, with the next host country also to be announced at the end of this summit.This article was first published on banglatribune.com
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