Leaders have begun arriving in Singapore for the 31-nation Commonwealth conference which opens on Thursday.?
Leaders have begun arriving in Singapore for the 31-nation Commonwealth conference which opens on Thursday. Prime Ministers from Ceylon, Samoa and Tonga and the Fiji Defence Minister flew in last night (Sunday) at the head of their respective delegations.
Meanwhile, in New Delhi, the British Prime Minister, Mr. Edward Heath, has been on a brief visit on his way to Singapore for the summit. He arrived in the Indian capital on Saturday.
The first Commonwealth summit leader to arrive was the Samoan Prime Minister, Mr. Tupua Tamasese Leafoli. The welcoming ceremony for all the delegates is being kept to a polite minimum with a protocol officer representing the Singapore Government.
He was followed by two other Pacific leaders -- the Tonga Prime Minister, Prince Tu'ipelehake and the Fiji Defence Minister, Mr. Ratu Ganilau, who is heading the delegation of the Commonwealth's newest member.
An hour later, the Ceylon Prime Minister, Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike, flew in accompanied by several members of her Cabinet. Mrs. Bandaranaike broke away from the official welcoming party to meet a small group of Ceylonese who came to the airport to watch her arrival.
Meanwhile, another Commonwealth leader was arriving -- this time Mr. Heath in New Delhi. He flew in from Pakistan on Saturday for a three-day visit, including talks with Mrs. Gandhi who welcomed him at the airport.
Also at the airport was a small crowd of students shouting anti-British slogans. They accused Mr. Heath of racialism over his proposal to sell arms to south Africa -- the issue which is likely to dominate the Commonwealth conference.