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India and Australia back Sri Lanka venue for CHOGM 2013

India and Australia have confirmed separately that they will not seek a change of venue for the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, due to be held in Sri Lanka.

Prime Minister Gillard reassured Sri Lankan President Rajapakse at a meeting in Perth that there will be no debate on Sri Lanka hosting the next CHOGM.

"My understanding is there is no intention to revisit the question of hosting of the next CHOGM meeting," she said.

Meanwhile, commonwealth sources told The Island that a Canadian official asked for a recall of the decision to hold the next meeting in Sri Lanka, but the move was reportedly thwarted by Sri Lanka and its allies.

An official at the Indian High Commission in Colombo said that India also opposes moves to reopen the issue. the official quoted Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai, who told reporters on Tuesday, that the decision was made in 2009 and does not need to be reviewed.

Mathai also voiced concerns about the Eminent Persons Group report, due to be released this week.

"As far as the EPG is concerned, we have seen the report and we had a discussion on it in New York when the Foreign Ministers of the Commonwealth met [...]

"Certainly the proposal for the Commissioner for Democracy, Rule of Law and Human Rights is one on which we have some reservations.

"The responsibilities spelt out in this would seem to undermine the role of both the Secretary-General and the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group itself which is actually dealing with precisely those issues. Secondly, it seems to us that this particular proposal is like a duplication of what the UN is already doing through its Rapporteurs.”