Commonwealth Heads Accept UK’s Prince As Successor – Report
Leaders on Friday approved UK’s Prince Charles as the successor to Queen Elizabeth as head of the Commonwealth at a meeting of the group’s heads of government in Windsor, Sky News reported citing unnamed sources.
There had been calls for the role to be rotated around the 53 member-states, most of which are former British territories, but in recent days the queen and the British government have backed Charles to take on the role.
The Commonwealth Secretariat, which carries out the organization’s day-to-day work, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Prime Minister Theresa May’s office did not comment on the report.
The succession issue was due to be discussed at the final day of the meeting, when leaders traveled 20 miles outside London for private meetings at the queen’s Windsor Castle home.
The Commonwealth evolved out of the British empire in the mid-20th century, and the queen has been its head since her reign began in 1952.
Charles had long been expected to take on the role even though it is not strictly hereditary.
This week’s Commonwealth summit has seen thousands of delegates from across the globe descend on London, debating issues such as the environment, women’s rights and trade. It ends later on Friday, when May is due to speak.
Britain has sought to use its hosting of the event as a chance to reinvigorate the loose alliance of countries, which have a combined population of 2.4 billion people, eyeing increased trade and global influence as it prepares to leave the European Union.
But the summit has been overshadowed by the embarrassing treatment of Caribbean migrants who came to Britain after World War Two to help rebuild the country, but have been caught up in a tightening of immigration rules.
The biennial meeting, taking place in Britain for the first time in 20 years, could be the last attended by the 91-year-old queen as she cuts back on some of her official duties.
The next summit is due to be held in Malaysia in 2020.
NAN reports that the summit which was originally to be hosted by Vanuatu at the end of 2017 was moved to the UK as Vanuatu was no longer able to host the event due to the damage done by Cyclone Pam to the island nation’s infrastructure.
The meeting was postponed to the spring of 2018 due to other international commitments.
The position of Commonwealth Chair-in-Office, held by the government leader of the CHOGM host country, will be transferred at the summit from the Prime Minister of Malta to the Prime Minister of the UK who will hold the post until the 26th CHOGM expected in 2020.
The theme of the summit is “Towards a Common Future”.
The British hosts have set out four main goals for the summit.
These are prosperity: boosting intra-Commonwealth trade and investment security: increasing cooperation across security challenges including global terrorism, organised crime and cyber attacks fairness: promoting democracy.
Others are fundamental freedoms and good governance across the Commonwealth sustainability: building the resilience of small and vulnerable states to deal with the effects of climate change and other global crises
Under consideration will be Commonwealth Blue Charter on ocean governance, a Commonwealth connectivity agenda for trade and investment, a declaration on cybercrime, and revised Commonwealth guidelines on election observation in member countries.
This will be the first CHOGM held following the UK’s decision to withdraw from the European Union, a decision which has resulted in calls for Britain to strengthen its economic ties with and play a greater role in the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth currently is responsible for one-tenth of British trade compare to the EU with which the UK currently conducts half of its trade.
Intra-Commonwealth trade, overall, is expected to increase by at least 17 per cent around 700 billion dollars by 2020.
NAN reports that the summit ends on Friday. (Reuters/NAN)
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