Foreign secy-level meeting of member states tomorrow
Kathmandu, August 9
Foreign secretary-level meeting of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation is scheduled to be held here on Saturday as part of preparations for the Fourth BIMSTEC Summit to be held in Kathmandu on August 30 and 31.
The meeting to be attended by secretaries of foreign ministries of all BIMSTEC member states — Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan, and Nepal — will be chaired by Foreign Secretary Shanker Das
The meeting will discuss all areas of preparations for the summit, including the views put forth by the Nepal government in relation to taking ahead the regional integration initiative, and agendas for discussions among VIPs and VVIPs from the member states and possible outcomes, according to MoFA Assistant Spokesperson Ram Babu Dhakal.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, preparations are under way for the summit and official invitations have been sent to all heads of the states and governments of member states.
The government has formed different committees as part of preparations. They include a steering committee headed by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, preparation and coordination committee headed by Foreign Minister Gyawali, sectoral committees led by other ministers and sub-committees led by secretaries.
The government has accorded high priority to the multilateral gathering, especially, as it is being held after the promulgation and implementation of the constitution and adoption of a new political system in Nepal.
Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali said Nepal had some expectations from BIMSTEC, especially, in areas of connectivity, roads, railways and power grid network. The BIMSTEC could also be a bridge between South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and Association of Southeast Asian Nations as BIMSTEC encompasses a group of seven member states — five from South Asia and two from South East Asia.
Other issues to be discussed at the summit include poverty alleviation, climate change, cross-border crime control and other issues of common concerns.
Established in 1997, Nepal joined the BIMSTEC in 2004. The first summit was held in Thailand in 2004, second in India in 2008, and third in Myanmar in 2014.