President in London to attend CHOGM

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President Maithripala Sirisena reached London last morning to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018.

May will speak alongside Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates, also touching on the need to reduce malaria deaths, saying around 90 percent of Commonwealth citizens live in countries where the disease is endemic. Ahead of the formal Heads of Government Meeting on Thursday and Friday, there will be three days of forums on Business, Women, People and Youth.

The President will attend a series of meetings scheduled to be until April 20 including meetings with British Prime Minister Theresa May, Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland and have bilateral talks.

Speaking on the second day of a week-long Commonwealth meeting in London, May will switch focus from trade, which she discussed on Monday, to humanitarian issues.

The theme of this year's CHOGM is "Towards a Common Future" and the special attention will be given to the areas of prosperity, security, fairness and sustainability to achieve the goals of Commonwealth countries.

But some have pointed out that Britain's trade with Commonwealth nations now lags far behind that with its European neighbours. An analysis by the Commonwealth Trade Review has found that trading costs between Commonwealth countries are on average 19 per cent less than between non-member countries.

Mr Lee will be accompanied by Mrs Lee, Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, as well as senior officials from the Prime Minister's Office, Ministry of Communications and Information and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.