Nepal to host BIMSTEC summit on Aug 30, 31

Kathmandu, June 14

Minister of Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali today said the Fourth Summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation would be held in Kathmandu on August 30, 31.

The Cabinet had recently decided to propose to member states to hold the summit in Kathmandu on the dates.

“Almost all member states have agreed to the dates,” said Gyawali at a press conference today.

He said Bhutan had yet to convey its approval to the dates since it would be going to the polls around that time and the Bhutanese government was yet to finalise as to what kind of decisions it could take.

Gyawali added that Nepal placed special importance to BIMSTEC, especially in terms of connectivity, tourism, connectivity, trade diversification and cross-border crime.

As far as the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation is concerned, Gyawali said Nepal’s position regarding the regional integration mechanism was intact. He said Nepal wanted the SAARC Summit to be held at the earliest, and that it was coordinating with member states.

He added that the effectiveness and regular functioning of such a mechanism should not be hampered because of the differences between any two countries.

“We are in favour of resolving differences through dialogue. This forum represents a population of around two billion, more than 20 per cent of which is poor. It can help address such issues as well as on areas of experience sharing and boosting investment,” said Gyawali. “We have seen examples of countries on the verge of war coming to the dialogue table. So there’s no reason for not sitting in the same forum.”

On his recent trip to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, to attend the inaugural inter-governmental meeting of International Think Tank for Landlocked Developing Countries held on June 11 and 12, Gyawali said important understanding had been reached and a 10-point declaration was adopted after the meeting.

He said the ITT would study and recommend how to coordinate with other countries to insure uninterrupted transit facility for LLDCs. Stating that LLDCs had to incur 20 per cent additional costs in trade and transport, he said the ITT would also advise how to reduce the cost, and basically how to become land-linked from landlocked country.