Ministerial meeting of BIMSTEC kick-starts in Kathmandu

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

Kathmandu [Nepal] Aug 09 (ANI): Two-day ministerial meeting of Bay of Bengal Initiatives for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) kicked started here on Thursday. The seven-member regional organisation is expected to discuss several issues, including fixing the dates for the fourth summit to be held in Nepal later this year. The meeting is being organised in Soaltee Crowne Plaza, Kathmandu. At the top of the agenda for the meeting are finalising a free trade agreement among BIMSTEC members, including negotiations on market access for professionals and reducing the duty on trading goods. Issues such as trade in services and goods, investments and connectivity are also expected to figure in the meet. The meeting was chaired by Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba with remarks from President of BIMSTEC, Nepal Foreign Minister and Foreign Secretary of Nepal being organized in Soaltee Crowne Plaza, Kathmandu. The inaugural procession was attended by the Foreign/External Affairs Ministers from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Sri Lanka and the Deputy Foreign Ministers from Myanmar and Thailand. Most of the delegates from BIMSTEC arrived Nepal capital on Thursday including Indian Minister for External Affairs Shushma Swaraj. Swaraj was the only delegate participating in the summit had brief talks and meetings with Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and President Bidhya Devi Bhandari. Swaraj called on Nepal Prime Minister at 4:30 PM (Local Time) and Nepal President at 5 PM (Local Time). After the inauguration of the ceremony the delegates from various countries had a brief bilateral meeting before going for the dinner hosted by Nepal Foreign Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara. The ministerial meeting which started late Thursday evening will conclude on Friday. (ANI)