Dhaka for expediting BIMSTEC cooperation to tackle pandemic challenges

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DHAKA, Sept 2, 2020 (BSS) – Bangladesh reiterated its commitment for
expediting and consolidating BIMSTEC cooperation specially in tackling
challenges of recovering shattered economies wreaked by COVID-19
pandemic.

Bangladesh also stressed on strengthening institutional mechanisms
and rationalization of BIMSTEC areas of cooperation keeping in mind
the challenges posed by the pandemic while foreign secretary Masud Bin
Momen attended the virtual 21st Session of the BIMSTEC Senior
Official’s Meeting (SOM) today hosted by Sri Lanka.

BIMSTEC (The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical
and Economic Cooperation) is a regional organization comprising seven
Member States – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar
and Thailand – lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of
Bengal constituting a contiguous regional unity.

The foreign secretaries and senior officials of all the seven
BIMSTEC member states joined the first ever virtual meeting held SOM
during this unprecedented COVID-19 Pandemic, a foreign ministry press
release said.

Bangladesh facilitated and supported endorsement of a series of
vital documents like the BIMSTEC Charter during the meeting, chaired
by Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary Admiral Prof Jayanath Colombage.

With the finalization of the BIMSTEC Charter, a long overdue
document since BIMSTEC’s inception, it is expected that BIMSTEC will
move on a fast track.

The foreign secretaries of the BIMSTEC member states recommended the
appointment of the next secretary general of BIMSTEC, Tenzin Lekphell
nominated by Bhutan.

Lekphell, a distinguished bureaucrat turned politician, will replace
the incumbent Secretary General Ambassador M Shahidul Islam from
Bangladesh.

The 21st SOM also prepared the agenda of the 17th Ministerial
Meeting and the 5th BIMSTEC Summit.

The 5th BIMSTEC Summit preceded by the 17th BIMSTEC ministerial
meeting is proposed to be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka in the first half
of January 2021, subject to the improved COVID-19 situation, where
BIMSTEC chairmanship will be handed over to Thailand for the period of
2021-2022.

Initially, the 5th BIMSTEC Summit was proposed to be held in early
September 2020 and got postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic.