Photo The New Times


Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, the UK Minister of State for the Commonwealth, has said that Rwanda has demonstrated enthusiasm and ability to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

Ahmad made the remarks while on a three-day visit to Rwanda which ended on Friday, April 30.

The visit aimed at among others inspecting the preparations in place as the UK gets ready to hand over the role of Commonwealth Chair-in-Office to Rwanda in June.

“The warmth of the reception I have received from the people of Rwanda, the engagements I have had demonstrate the real motivation, the enthusiasm to host the heads of government meeting,” he said during an interview he had with the national broadcaster.

Asked about whether the summit will explore virtual conferencing options in some of the meetings that comprise it, Ahmad said such decisions are to be made by Rwanda.

“How the CHOGM is organized in terms of the format it takes - the physical against the virtual, that ultimately is very much of a decision for Rwanda. What I can assure you of is that whatever decision on how the CHOGM is moved forward by Rwanda, we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them and are very supportive,” he said.

On his visit, Ahmad met with President Kagame, among other dignitaries from the Rwandan government including Vincent Biruta, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Jeanne d'Arc Mujawamariya, the Environment Minister, with whom he discussed preparations to hold a safe and successful CHOGM.

“This was a thoroughly productive visit, as Rwanda prepares to host Commonwealth leaders in June. I thanked President Kagame and the Government of Rwanda for their work to prepare for this important summit,” read a statement by Ahmad.

“CHOGM 2021 is a key opportunity to boost momentum towards COP26 (the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference). We hope that Commonwealth leaders will agree a strong statement on climate and use CHOGM to demonstrate greater ambition in climate change commitments,” he added.

The UK minister also delivered a lecture at the African Leadership University. - Hudson Kuteesa, The New Times

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