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More than 250 delegates representing 75 political parties in 35 countries have arrived in Colombo to attend the Eighth General Assembly of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties ( ICAPP ) which will begin today (19) at the Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Political party delegates of Afghanistan, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Britain, Cambodia, China, East-Timor, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, the Maldives, Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Sudan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam and Zambia are here to participate in the ICECAP General Assembly.

The theme of this year’s ICAPP is Building an Asian Community. In parallel with the ICAPP, Meetings of ICAPP Youth Wing and Women’s Wing will be held at the BMICH today.

ICAPP Youth Wing will be headed by the Hambantota District MP Namal Rajapaksa and Members of Youth Parliament and young politicians of all levels will participate, while ICECAP Women’s Wing will be headed by Gampaha District MP Dr. Sudarshani Fernandopulle and female politicians will participate in its sessions.

Deputy Speaker and Galle District MP Chandima

Weerakkody yesterday said that the conference would be held today and tomorrow at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) with the participation of around 300 political party members and social activists.

Addressing the media at the Mass Media and Information Ministry, Weerakkody said that the conference had been organised by President Rajapaksa together with the United National Party (UNP) and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe.

"President Rajapaksa will be elected as the Chairman of ICAPP 2014 at the conference in Colombo," he added.

Weerakkody also said that the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and Liberal Party had already confirmed their participation and the government had also invited all 225 members of Parliament to participate in the conference.

Despite the government’s open invitation, the Tamil political parties had not confirmed their participation as at yesterday morning, Deputy Speaker added.

"The conference will be a good opportunity for Sri Lanka to show its development after 30 years war as around 250 delegates of 75 political parties are currently in the country," he said.

Delegates will visit Galle on Monday (21), he said.

The ICAPP, launched in Manila Philippines in 2000, brings together competing governing, opposition and independent political parties in Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, West Asia, and Oceania.

It aims to promote exchanges and cooperation between political parties from different countries in the area and with various ideologies in order to enhance mutual understanding and trust among Asian countries.

The participants will focus on global, economic, social, cultural and political progress of each country. 

by Maheesha Mudugamuwa

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