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Dinesh Gunawardena, Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka was elected to chair the 17th Session of the Ministerial Meeting of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC).

Presiding over the conference held in Colombo on 01 April, Minister Gunawardena stated that the charter of the Association of Parliamentarians of BIMSTEC Member States should be finalized early. After finalizing the charter, the Parliamentarians are more likely to be committed to the democratic principles and there will be opportunity for them to exchange views and information on the Parliamentary practice, the Minister pointed out.

The member countries of the BIMSTEC, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Thailand were also connected with Sri Lanka virtually during the meeting.

The Minister also stressed the need to expedite the implementation of the BIMSTEC Transport Connectivity Master Plan prepared by the Asian Development Bank. Addressing the BIMSTEC meeting, the Minister said that the constraints faced today during the COVID-19 epidemic by the transport links, including coastal navigation, waterways, ports and harbours which have been used for centuries, should be studied and plans should be made to suit the supply of air cargo, public relations and regional development, in the future.

The Sri Lankan delegation to the Ministerial Meeting was led by the State Minister for Regional Cooperation, Tharaka Balasuriya.

Foreign Ministry
Colombo

02 April 2021

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