BIMSTEC foreign secretaries to meet on Sept 2

Diplomatic Correspondent | Published: 18:04, Aug 10,2020 | Updated: 01:10, Aug 11,2020


BIMSTEC is set to hold a virtual meeting of senior officials, including foreign secretaries, of its member countries on September 2.

They will discuss BIMSTEC’s role in post-COVID 19 recovery and rehabilitation with emphasis on poverty alleviation, food security and uninterrupted economic and physical connectivity in the region, according to a press release of the BIMSTEC secretariat in Dhaka.

This will be the 21st meeting of the BIMSTEC’s senior officials. 

The meeting is likely to finalise some important agreements and documents, including the BIMSTEC Charter, envisaged to be signed or launched at the Fifth BIMSTEC Summit expected to be held at the earliest.

The foreign secretaries will also discuss the new time-frame and modalities of the fifth summit and the 17th BIMSTEC ministerial meeting which were scheduled to be held on September 3–4 but postponed due to the prevailing COVID-19 situation.

‘If physical summit appears difficult under the circumstances, member states could consider the possibility of holding a virtual summit within this year,’ said BIMSTEC secretary general M Shahidul Islam. 

BIMSTEC summit and ministerial meeting are held with the participation of the heads of government and foreign ministers respectively of the member countries. 

The foreign secretaries are also expected to recommend a new secretary general from Bhutan to head the Dhaka-based BIMSTEC secretariat for the next three years as the term of the current secretary general, M. Shahidul Islam, a diplomat from Bangladesh, is scheduled to end on September 20 this year.

The term of the BIMSTEC secretary general is non-extendable. There is, however, a precedence of extending the term for a few months for operational reasons of the regional body.  

Sri Lanka is the current chair of the seven-nation organisation comprising Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

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