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Visit of MoS Dr. Shashi Tharoor to Lisbon for attending the 5th Ministerial Conference of the Community of Democracies

New Delhi
July 13, 2009 

Minister of State for External Affairs Dr. Shashi Tharoor attended the 5th Ministerial Conference of the Community of Democracies (CoD) in Lisbon on July 11-12, 2009. The Minister of State spoke at the inaugural session along with the Foreign Ministers of Mali, Brazil, the Republic of Korea and the US Deputy Secretary of State which was chaired by Foreign Minister Luis Amado of Portugal and opened by Speaker of the Portuguese Parliament. The two day conference commenced with a workshop with civil society on Democratic Governance and Inter cultural Dialogue and held three thematic sessions on “Implications of the Current Financial and Economic Crisis in Democratic Governance, Democratic Governance and Development and Future Challenges for the Community of Democracies”. 

On the sidelines of the conference the Minister of State met and exchanged views with other Ministers present including Celso Amorim, Foreign Minister of Brazil; Dipu Moni, Foreign Minister of Bangladesh; Radoslaw Sikorski, Foreign Minister of Poland; Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim, Deputy Foreign Minister of South Africa; Minister Sujata Koirala of Nepal; Moctar Ouane, Foreign Minister of Mali; James Steinberg, US Deputy Secretary of State and Portuguese Deputy Minister Joao Cravinho. He also met Jorge Sampaio, former President of Portugal and High Representative of the Alliance of Civilizations and Madeleine Albright, former US Secretary of State, who was instrumental in the formation of the CoD in 2000. 

India is a member of the Convening Group of the CoD, a forum of democratic countries involved in an ongoing dialogue among countries wedded to and practicing democracy. Its objective is to promote strengthening of the democratic form of governance throughout the world. Portugal as the present Chair of the Group hosted the 5th Ministerial CoD. Earlier Ministerials have been held in Warsaw in 2000, in Seoul in 2002, in Santiago, Chile in 2005 and in Bamako, Mali in 2007. The next ministerial will be held in Lithuania which has taken over the Chairmanship of the CoD. Lithuania will be followed by Mongolia. The 10th Anniversary of the founding of the CoD will be held in Poland in 2010. Representatives from over 100 countries attended the meeting in addition to some 80 non-governmental organizations.