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Boycott-hit Commonwealth insists summit a success

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The head of the Commonwealth rejected Saturday suggestions the controversy-hit summit under way in Colombo would fail to produce real results, as it prepared to wrap up three-days of talks.

Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma denied that discussions during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting were lightweight given that only 27 of the 53 members of the bloc have sent their heads of government.

"The Commonwealth is distinguished by the fact that it's a very issues based organisation," Sharma told reporters.

"As far as the outcomes are concerned, you will find at the end of this CHOGM, that it has been very productive, and it has been very meaningful and successful," he said, seated alongside Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse.

"They are countries from all parts of the world, they've got national issues on their mind...they've collective global issues on their mind," he said.

Discussions at the summit, including on debt relief for small member countries and financing projects to battle climate change, have been overshadowed by the row over Sri Lanka's alleged rights abuses.

Sharma, a career diplomat, said the level of discussion at the biennial summit in Colombo was in no way lower than in previous years.

"They (delegations) all come with the equal willingness and enthusiasm to contribute to the causes that have brought them here," he said.

"They are countries from all parts of the world, they've got national issues on their mind...they've collective global issues on their mind."

tha/co/ia

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131116/boycott-hit-commonwealth-insists-summit-success