Government Policy

BIMSTEC: FM Momen in Colombo to attend 18th ministerial meeting Tuesday

The eighteenth ministerial meeting of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) opens in the Sri Lankan capital on Tuesday as the members explore ways to strengthen the forum on all fronts.

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen arrived here on Monday afternoon to lead the Bangladesh delegation at the ministerial meeting ahead of the 5th BIMSTEC Summit to be held on March 30.

Sri Lanka is hosting the Summit in hybrid mode with the theme “BIMSTEC-Towards a Resilient Region, Prosperous Economies and Healthy Peoples.”

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa will formally inaugurate the Summit in which Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will join virtually from Dhaka.

BIMSTEC consists of seven member states – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Earlier, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen led the Bangladesh delegation at the 22nd BIMSTEC Senior Officials’ Meeting’ held at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) in Colombo on Monday.

Secretary (East) Mashfee Binte Shams, Additional Secretary (SAARC & BIMSTEC) Md. Shamsul Haque and Bangladesh High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Tareq Md Ariful Islam, among others, joined the meeting.

The officials’ meeting endorsed and adopted several reports of BIMSTEC meetings. The meeting finalized the agenda and report of the 18th BIMSTEC ministerial meeting.

Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Prof. G. L Peiris will deliver welcome remarks after the formal opening of the ministerial meeting.

Issues related to the BIMSTEC Charter, BIMSTEC Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Mutual Cooperation between Diplomatic Academies/Training Institutions of BIMSTEC Member States, Memorandum of Association (MoA) on the Establishment of BIMSTEC Technology Transfer Facility (TTF) in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Rationalization and Reorganization of Sectors and Sub-sectors of BIMSTEC, BIMSTEC Master Plan for Transport Connectivity, finalization of the draft provisional agenda of the 5th BIMSTEC Summit and draft of the fifth BIMSTEC Summit declaration will be discussed at the ministerial meeting, officials said.

After the 18th BIMSTEC ministerial meeting, Ministers of Foreign Affairs/External Affairs and BIMSTEC Secretary General Tenzin Lekphell are scheduled to meet President Rajapaksa.

Six documents including the BIMSTEC Charter are likely to be adopted and signed at the 5th BIMSTEC Summit, says FM Momen.

Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry says the Summit will discuss the progress of the BIMSTEC as a regional group and is expected to adopt the BIMSTEC charter and sign several legal agreements.

BIMSTEC was formed on 6 June 1997 to enhance economic cooperation between the countries of Southeast Asia and South Asia around the Bay of Bengal.

It is a regional grouping that encompasses about 1.5 billion people and a combined GDP of over USD $2.7 trillion.

Source: United News of Bangladesh