Published:  02:27 AM, 12 August 2017

Envoy Shahidul appointed Bimstec Secy General

The 15th Bimstec Ministerial meeting yesterday appointed Banglad-esh's candidate Ambassa-dor M Shahidul Islam as the next Secretary General of Bimstec for a period of three years. Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali led the Bangladesh delegation to the 15th Bimstec Ministe-rial meeting held in Kathmandu, Nepal, reports UNB.

The current Chair of Bimstec, Foreign Minister of Nepal Krishna Bahadur Mahara, chaired the meeting. Ambassador Islam is currently serving as the Ambassador of Bangladesh to France. Earlier on Thursday, the Senior Officials' Meeting recommended appointment of  Secretary General of Bangladesh as the tour of duty of the first Secretary General expired on August 10.

In 2012, Ambassador Sumith Nakandala was nominated as the first Secretary General of Bimstec and he assumed the charge of the Secretary General on August 10, 2014. His tenure ended on August 10, 2017. Nepal's Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba inaugurated the meeting and the Foreign Ministers of Bimstec member states jointly met the Prime Minister of Nepal.

Prime Minister Deuba emphasized the need for developing connectivity along with other areas of cooperation to unleash potentials for economic development of Bimstec countries. Among others, Bhutan's Foreign Minister Lyonpo Damcho Dorji and India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj attended the meeting.

Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand are the Members of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec). This sub-regional grouping of South and South East Asian nations has completed 20 years since its inception as BIST-EC in 1997 through Bangkok Declaration.

During the meeting, Minister Ali called upon the member states to review past performances, renew commitment and reframe strategy to transform Bimstec as one of the most dynamic regional organizations of the 21st century. The Foreign Minister urged the member states to conclude Bimstec Free Trade Area (FTA) negotiations for its early implementation and stressed enhancing cooperation in science and technology and ICT sectors, climate change, culture and tourism and blue economy, among others, said the Foreign Ministry.

He requested the member states to give a big push together to bring in dynamism in the areas of cooperation of Bimstec. Bimstec foreign ministers expressed their unequivocal commitments to strengthen cooperation under the aegis of Bimstec and stressed implementing directives of the Bimstec leaders.

Ministers agreed to prioritize sectoral cooperation especially on trade, connectivity, energy, disaster management, technology, poverty alleviation and countering terrorism and violent extremism and speedy implementation of the pledges and commitments already made. Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque led the Bangladesh delegation to the Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM).

-AA News Desk

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