Bimstec issues Kathmandu Declaration

KATHMANDU (The Kathmandu Post/ANN) - The 15th Bimstec ministerial meeting on Friday adopted a Kathmandu Declaration on various areas of cooperation even as the seven-country meet failed to clinch a concrete deal.

The 15th Bimstec ministerial meeting on Friday adopted a Kathmandu Declaration on various areas of cooperation even as the seven-country meet failed to clinch a concrete deal.

The much expected date for hosting the fourth Bimstec summit in Nepal was not announced as the Nepali side failed to propose a specific date.

An official cited Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s busy schedule of an official visit to India and his trip to New York and probably to China for Nepal’s indecisiveness about the date, and the three elections that have to be held by January next year.

The summit would be scheduled in consultation with all the member states later, according to the declaration.

Nepal is the current chair of the regional grouping. The meeting decided to appoint the veteran Bangladeshi diplomat Shahidul Islam as next the general secretary of Bimstec as the term of the incumbent Sumith Nakandala is about to be over.

According to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Krishna Bahadur Mahara, who read out the declaration, the Bimstec Free Trade Area Agreement will be signed soon. The meeting also agreed to set up a Grid Interconnection between the member states, for which an agreement would be signed soon. The member states also agreed to finalise the text of technology transfer among the members along with other documents related to trade facilitation and motor and transit agreements.

The 15th meeting of the foreign ministers adopted a master plan to alleviate poverty in the region. The meeting also agreed to set up the Bimstec Energy Centre, Bimstec Environment Centre and Bimstec Cultural Centre immediately to expedite the objectives of the regional organisation.

The meeting agreed to constitute an Eminent Persons’ Group to suggest a future roadmap for the regional grouping. “The meeting decided to enhance trade and economic cooperation among the member states,” the declaration reads.

Nepal has proposed hosting the third meeting of Bimstec energy ministers early next year. The private sector would be assigned a greater role in promoting trade, energy and infrastructure and investment in the region.

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