Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Thursday urged Member States to expedite BIMSTEC process noting that an enhanced trade and investment in this region will facilitate income and employment generation.
"Seamless multi-modal connectivity is a precondition for trade and investment promotion and people to people contact," he said.
The Foreign Minister made the remarks at the 17th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting virtually held in Colombo, Sri Lanka on Thursday.
The meeting approved/endorsed several BIMSTEC agreements, conventions, MoUs and other important documents /instruments envisaged to be signed/adopted at the fifth BIMSTEC Summit.
The Foreign Ministers and Senior Officials of all the seven BIMSTEC Member States joined the meeting.
Foreign Secretary (Senior Secretary) Masud Bin Momen accompanied the Foreign Minister in the meeting
The 5th BIMSTEC Summit is expected to be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka this year subject to the COVID situation.
Dr Momen said BIMSTEC is a member driven organization and members organize the meetings and events to build consensus on cooperation and undertake programme of action in various sectors.
"We need to work simultaneously on a faster pace in all priority sectors to bring synergy in our cooperation to make BIMSTEC a result oriented regional forum," he said.
Dr Momen said Bangladesh is celebrating the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the 50th Anniversary of Independence.
"The Father of the Nation was a visionary leader. In early 1972 he thought of working together with the neighbours in the region for collective progress and prosperity of our peoples. Regional cooperation has been our foreign policy priorities since then," said the Foreign Minister.
He said the Father of the Nation’s able daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s decision to join BIMSTEC as its founding member in 1997 bears the testimony of our commitment to regional cooperation.
"It is manifested in hosting the BIMSTEC Secretariat in Dhaka. As the host country Bangladesh is committed to extend all possible support to strengthen the Secretariat," he said.
Dr Momen said Bangladesh facilitated and supported the consideration and adoption of a series of vital documents in the meeting chaired by Dinesh Gunawardena, Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka and Chairman of the said Meeting.
The meeting approved and recommended the finalized draft text of the BIMSTEC Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, the finalized draft text of the Memorandum of Association on the Establishment of BIMSTEC Technology Transfer Facility (TTF) in Colombo, Sri Lanka and the draft text of the MoU on Mutual Cooperation between Diplomatic Academies/Training Institutions of BIMSTEC Member States for signature during the Fifth BIMSTEC Summit.
It approved the rationalization of sectors and sub-sectors of BIMSTEC and the Template of the Memorandum of Association (MoA) on the Establishment of the BIMSTEC Centres/Entities for adoption during the Fifth BIMSTEC Summit.
It also adopted Joint Statement of the 17th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting and BIMSTEC Master Plan for Transport Connectivity for onward submission to the 5th BIMSTEC Summit and recommended the draft Text of the Summit Declaration as per recommendation of the Special SOM held virtually yesterday in Colombo.
"We need the legal documents to be ready for signature at the earliest," Dr Momen said adding that hosting meeting regularly and concurrences and participation of Member States in those meetings are very much crucial in this regard.