Bangladesh has proposed creating an emergency relief fund for BIMSTEC that may address the contingencies resulting from public health pandemic, natural disasters and humanitarian crisis.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen also flagged that BIMSTEC may create institutions similar to ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance Centre (AHA).

For post pandemic economic recovery, he stressed on the introduction of a cross-border digital payment system, early conclusion of BIMSTEC Free Trade Agreement, sharing best practices in nursing and tourism and recognition of university degrees.

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Momen led the Bangladesh delegation to the BIMSTEC Foreign Ministers’ Retreat held in Bangkok, Thailand on Monday.  He was joined by delegates from the 6 other BIMSTEC member states – Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.

Bangladesh expressed interest that Bangladesh would be pleased to host the second Foreign Ministers’ Retreat, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Ministers also agreed to hold a special Foreign Ministers’ Retreat every year on the sidelines of the UNGA in New York.

Also read: Enhancing growth, promoting prosperity: BIMSTEC retreat held in Bangkok

Momen also highlighted the importance of  raising common voices from BIMSTEC countries in combating the adverse impact of climate change in global climate change negotiations.

He underscored the need of maintaining peace and stability in the BIMSTEC region for sustainability of growth and development.

In this context, Momen called upon the BIMSTEC members for creating an enabling environment that would lead to the repatriation of internally displaced Myanmar nationals currently sheltered in Bangladesh.

He drew the attention of the members in taking a shared position against cross border terrorism, wiping out the menace of drug and human trafficking etc.

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Momen shared views on mechanisms for energy security, food security, cyber security in the BIMSTEC region.

After the retreat, the BIMSTEC Foreign Ministers jointly met Thai premier Prayut Chan-o-Cha at the Government House in Bangkok.

On the sideline of the retreat, Momen had bilateral meetings with his counterparts from India, Thailand, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka.

This is the first ever BIMSTEC Foreign Ministers’ Retreat.

The Retreat was attended by all the Foreign Ministers of BIMSTEC Member States and the Secretary General of BIMSTEC.

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The Foreign Ministers had an in-depth discussion on strengthening the BIMSTEC mechanism as well as exchanged views on regional and global issues of common concern.

While discussing BIMSTEC related issues, they focused on defining the concept of external partners, establishing the Eminent Persons’ Group and holding a BIMSTEC Foreign Ministerial retreat on a regular basis.

The Foreign Minister recalled with great pleasure that the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is one of the founding leaders who contributed in establishing BIMSTEC in 1996.

Bangladesh supports the concept of external partnership, the establishment of Eminent Persons’ group and hosting of BIMSTEC Foreign Ministers’ Retreat.

Also read: PM to attend BIMSTEC Summit later this year in Thailand


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