Commonwealth leaders’ summit officially opens Friday in Rwanda

KIGALI, Rwanda — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will begin a series of closed-door meetings in Rwanda on Friday to try to bring Commonwealth countries onside with Canada’s climate goals and its view of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Trudeau arrived in Kigali for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting on Wednesday, but the summit officially gets underway Friday with executive and bilateral meetings.

On Trudeau’s schedule is a meeting with the former prime minister of Chad, Moussa Faki Mahamat.

Mahamat is chair of the commission that serves as the secretariat for the African Union, which has been at the centre of a tug of war for support between Ukraine and Russia.

Both countries have vied for Africa’s friendship as the violent conflict continues in Ukraine, leading to a worldwide spike in the cost of fuel and grain scarcity. 

Trudeau also plans to sit down with the leaders of Antigua and Barbuda, Ghana and Zambia. 

The prime minister was scheduled to meet one-on-one with Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Thursday, but the meeting was delayed. 

The Commonwealth includes a diverse group of 54 independent countries with historic ties to the British Crown. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 24, 2022.

Laura Osman, The Canadian Press

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