Press release

Foreign Ministers look towards Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

The annual meeting marked an important milestone ahead of the next Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Colombo in November.

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Minister of State for the Commonwealth, the Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP, represented the UK at the Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers’ meeting in New York today.

Foreign Ministers:

  • were provided with an update by the Commonwealth Secretary-General on his Democracy and Good Offices programme;

  • reviewed the progress of the recommendations for reform, agreed by Commonwealth Heads in Perth; and

  • discussed preparations and potential outcomes of the next Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting.

Mr Swire commented:

I was once again honoured to represent the UK at the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. With the next Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting less than two months away, this was an important opportunity for Ministers across the Commonwealth to appraise the progress that has been made since Perth in 2011, and consider our joint expectations for the Commonwealth.

This has been an important year for the Commonwealth, with Her Majesty signing the Commonwealth Charter in March. For the first time in its 64 year history, the Commonwealth has a single document setting out the core values of the organisation and the aspiration of its members. Members also agreed a new Strategic Plan for the Commonwealth Secretariat which directs its work for the next 3 years.

But we recognised that there are significant challenges ahead. The decision to hold CHOGM in Sri Lanka has caused some to question the Commonwealth’s commitment to its core values and its credibility. I firmly believe, and made clear to my Commonwealth counterparts during today’s meeting, that members have a responsibility to uphold the values we agreed to in the Commonwealth Charter. Over the coming months, the Commonwealth has a great opportunity to build on the work we have already begun. We should remain ambitious but focus our attention on the areas in which we can add real value on the global stage.

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Published 26 September 2013