Bimstec foreign ministers meet in Kathmandu Friday

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The fifteenth Bimstec Ministerial Meeting will be held in Kathmandu, Nepal on Friday, which is likely to finalise the date for the next Bimstec Summit.

The ministerial meeting will be preceded by the eighteenth session of Bimstec Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM).

Nepalese Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba will inaugurate the ministerial meeting, a diplomat informed on Wednesday.

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali will lead the Bangladesh delegation at the meeting.

Bimstec (Bay of Bengal Initiatives for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) is a sub-regional grouping comprising seven countries of South Asia and South East Asia.

Nepal is the current chair of Bimstec. Its Secretariat is located in Dhaka.

The Foreign and External Affairs Ministers will make a collective call on the Prime Minister of Nepal before or after the meeting.

The SOM will discuss matters relating to the formation of Eminent Persons’ Group (EPG), Bimstec FTA, and MoU for the Establishment of Bimstec Grid Interconnection, among others, and prepare agenda for the ministerial meeting, according to a messageined from Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The following day, the ministerial meeting will review the progress and achievements in the identified 15 areas of cooperation, and discuss the ways to accelerate the cooperation under the Bimstec process.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Krishna Bahadur Mahara of Nepal will chair the 15th ministerial meeting as the leader of Nepali delegation while Foreign Secretary of Nepal Shanker Das Bairagi, will chair the 18th session of Bimstec-SOM.

Mahara will host dinner in honour of the Foreign and External Affairs Ministers of the Bimstec member states and other delegates attending the meeting.

Earlier, the Foreign and External Affairs Ministers from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Sri Lanka and the Deputy Foreign Ministers from Myanmar and Thailand have confirmed their participation in the ministerial meeting.

This meeting is being convened at a time when the 20th Anniversary of the establishment of Bimstec is celebrated throughout this year and for the first time in Kathmandu after Nepal assumed its chairmanship in 2014.