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Secretary-General meets President Nasheed on eve of SAARC summit

9 November 2011
"The Commonwealth is an organisation driven by national priorities" – Sharma

Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma met Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed on the eve of the 17th summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in Maldives on Wednesday, 9 November.

The President received the Secretary-General at State House in Addu City, on the southernmost atoll of Maldives, where the conference will take place from 10 to 11 November 2011. It is the third time that Maldives has hosted the annual conference.

Mr Sharma is attending as a special guest of the President.

The two leaders discussed Commonwealth co-operation with Maldives and outcomes of the recently concluded Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) held in Perth, Australia.

Mr Sharma told the President: "The Commonwealth is an organisation driven by the national priorities of our members - that is what brings relevance and sustainability to our work."‪

He congratulated the Mr Nasheed on Addu City's preparedness for SAARC.

Wednesday marked the first time that the President has held an official meeting with a senior diplomat in Maldives outside the capital of Malé.

"It is an honour for the Commonwealth and underlines politically the Commonwealth's commitment to support practically the Maldives Government's decentralisation policies," the Secretary-General said.

Five SAARC countries - Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka - share membership with the Commonwealth. During the two-day summit, Mr Sharma is expected to hold bilateral meetings with leaders and senior officials.