Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma will be on an official visit to Australia from 31 January to 3 February 2011.
Speaking ahead of his trip, Mr Sharma said: “I look forward to my meeting with Prime Minister Gillard and her colleagues who have been working extremely hard in preparation for the summit meeting of Commonwealth Leaders in Perth at the end of October this year.”
The Secretary-General will be in Perth from 31 January to 1 February where he will meet with the Governor of Western Australia, Dr Ken Michael and the State Premier, Colin Barnett.
Mr Sharma will visit King's Park, the retreat venue for Commonwealth Leaders, as well as the Perth Convention & Exhibition Centre, where most of the formal Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) events will take place. The Secretary-General will also speak at the launch of the Commonwealth Business Forum at Kings Park later in the day on 31 January, and address a press conference on 1 February.
On 2 February, Mr Sharma will meet Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Canberra to discuss preparations for the CHOGM, including the substantive issues likely to feature in the leaders’ deliberations. He will also meet with Commonwealth High Commissioners in Canberra where he will brief them on progress for CHOGM and other Commonwealth issues.
On 3 February, the Secretary-General will hold talks with the Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, in Sydney.
Mr Sharma noted “I have been given regular updates on the admirable progress made in the lead-up to CHOGM and I will be pleased to tour the conference and retreat venues. This will be the third time that Australia is hosting CHOGM. I am confident that Australia will once again do a splendid job in playing host to the rest of the Commonwealth and showcasing its hospitality and the dynamism of its people.”
Note to Editors:
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) will take place in Perth from 28 to 30 October 2011.
Australia has hosted CHOGM twice in the past, at Melbourne in 1981 and Coolum in 2002.