We are very happy to say that so far we have had a tremendous response from abroad across the Commonwealth and outside Commonwealth for business partnership with Sri Lanka, Dr. Mohan Kaul, Chairman of the Commonwealth Business Council said.
Addressing media together with the Minister of external Affairs, Prof. G. L. Peiris at the Ministry of External Affairs in Colombo this morning, Dr. Kaul said delegates from 65 countries have already confirmed their participation in the Business Forum and the largest delegation is from the United Kingdom.
"We have delegates from Commonwealth as well as non- Commonwealth countries," he said.
"We expect a very successful event where we hope a very good participation from some of the top business leaders".
Each of the Presidents and Heads of States who are coming here are bringing a business delegation. So there is lot of expectations from us and hope that the CHOGM would not only be a good political gathering but also an event that would bring economic benefits to Sri Lanka.
We already have expressions of interest for businesses amounting to US$ 2 billion including investments airport, energy and tourism sectors, he said.
"The Forum will have a very practical approach and we have received major investment proposals covering all important sectors in the country idea of the Forum is to focus attention on Sri Lanka as an international hub making use of our many natural resources including our geographical location, human resources, the conditions of stability that prevail in the country and the trade agreements we have with other countries," External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris said.
There is tremendous goodwill from the part of the countries of the Commonwealth for the Summit in Sri Lanka. This was very clear to me and President Mahinda Rajapaksa when we had discussions with Heads of Government, Heads of States from very large number of countries on the sidelines of the UNGA in New York later September, Prof. Peiris added.
Among the leaders we met there were several leaders from Commonwealth countries and we were overwhelmed by the very strong support and solidarity they expressed with regard to this upcoming event.
Minister Peiris recalled a public remark made by Julie Bishop, the Foreign Minister of Australia saying her country wish a resounding success to Colombo CHOGM and the government of Australia would do everything in its power to ensure that.
"We are deeply grateful for the spirit of cooperation expressed towards us," Prof. Peiris said.
The central theme of the Commonwealth meeting chosen by Sri Lanka is 'Economic Development with Social Equity' and many of the countries expressed appreciation of the choice of the theme. They said it is very topical and practically important to many countries especially in the developing world.
We have also been congratulated for the meticulous logistical preparations not only for the Summit but also for various other related events, Prof. Peiris further said.