Sri Lanka is the Chair of BIMSTEC since 2018. The Minister assured Sri Lanka’s commitment to furthering the goals of the regional organization.
Thanking the Sri Lankan government for hosting his visit the Secretary-General informed that Sri Lanka has achieved much during its tenure which includes the finalization of the BIMSTEC Charter and the allocation of defined areas of cooperation among member States, which form the base of the organization.
Sri Lanka will host the 5th BIMSTEC Summit early next year where the Chairmanship will be handed over to Thailand.
As Sri Lanka is the lead country for Science and Technology and Innovation with sub-sectors of Health and Human Resource Development, the Secretary-General briefed the Foreign Minister on the discussions held with focal sectors which included meetings with Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella; State Minister of Indigenous Medicine Promotion, Rural and Ayurvedic Hospitals Development and Community Health Sisira Jayakody; State Minister of Regional Co-operation Tharaka Balasuriya; State Minister of Skills Development, Vocational Education, Research and Innovation Dr Seetha Arambepola, and Acting Foreign Secretary A. M. J. Sadiq and ministry’s officials.
The Secretary-General also paid courtesy calls on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. He commended the Sri Lankan government on its achievements in curtailing the impact of COVID-19 and the vaccination programme.
He also emphasized the need to revive economies in the region and informed that BIMSTEC has an important role to play in this area. President Rajapaksa has emphasized the need for all member states to formulate action plans under given sectors that would reach the people of the region.
The Secretary-General also paid homage to the temple of the Tooth in Kandy during his visit.
Additional Secretary Sabarullah Khan, Acting Director-General Anzul Banu Jhan and Executive Assistant of the Economic Affairs Division Kalani Dharmasena were also associated with the visit. – ada derana