‘Decision on PM attending CHOGM soon’

    By IANS,

    New Delhi : The external affairs ministry Wednesday said a decision was expected soon on whether Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would be attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo this month.

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    External affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said the decision process is at a “fairly advanced stage” and “we hope to have a decision soon”, which would be communicated.

    His answer comes amid speculation that the prime minister could go to Colombo to attend the Nov 15-17 summit, notwithstanding the strong opposition from Tamil Nadu political parties over Sri Lanka’s alleged human rights violations.

    There is also speculation the prime minister may also visit Jaffna, the capital of the Tamil-dominated Northern Province and the stronghold of the erstwhile Tamil Tigers, following an invite by its new Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran.

    Tamil Nadu parties, including the DMK and the AIADMK, have been opposed to the prime minister attending the summit.

    Some ministers also have voiced reservations about Manmohan Singh’s Sri Lanka visit.

    Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan has urged the prime minister to boycott the summit. Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office V. Narayanasamy and Union Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan have both expressed hope that the prime minister would take a decision keeping in mind the sentiments of Tamils.