Colombo, 10 December 2021 (TDI): The Secretary-General of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), Tenzin Lekphell, met Srilankan Foreign Minister, Gamini Lakshman Peiris. The meeting took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sri Lanka.
This is Lekphell’s first official visit to Sri Lanka, and he utilized this meeting to brief on his trip, in addition to discussing common goals.
🇱🇰 Foreign Minister G. L. Peiris reassures commitment of Sri Lanka to BIMSTEC during the visit of Secretary General of BIMSTEC Tenzin Lekphell
— MFA SL 🇱🇰 (@MFA_SriLanka) December 10, 2021
Since 2018, Sri Lanka has been the Chair of BIMSTEC. During the meeting, Minister Peiris reiterated Sri Lanka’s firm dedication towards furthering the objectives of the organization.
The Secretary-General thanked the Sri Lankan Government for inviting him. He also hoped that productive discourse, which would be beneficial for both parties, would take place.
Additionally, he stated that a lot has been achieved since Sri Lanka’s appointment as Chair of BIMSTEC. This includes the finalization of the BIMSTEC Charter, which is essentially a master plan for transport connectivity. Also, member States of BIMSTEC have been allocated defined fields of cooperation among each other, a fundamental principle of the organization.
In early 2022, Sri Lanka will organize the 5th BIMSTEC Summit. At the event, Sri Lanka will hand over the Chairmanship to Thailand.
SECRETARY GENERAL’S OTHER MEETINGS
Sri Lanka is a pioneer of Science and Technology and Innovation, possessing sub-sectors of Health and Human Resource Development. Due to these reasons, Lekphell met with Sri Lankan Ministers of certain focal sectors prior to his exchange with Peiris. This includes the Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella; State Minister of Regional Co-operation Tharaka Balasuriya, and Acting Foreign Secretary A.M.J. Sadiq. Furthermore, the General also called on State Minister of Indigenous Medicine Promotion Sisira Jayakody, and State Minister of Skills Development, Vocational Education, Research and Innovation Seeta Arambepola.
He briefed Foreign Minister Peiris on these interactions and their conclusions. In addition to that, the Secretary-General further paid courtesy calls on the President and Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Mahindra Rajapaksa, respectively.
During these exchanges, he congratulated the Government for its effective handling of the Covid-19 pandemic situation and the vaccination program. Moreover, Lekphell further highlighted the need to develop economies in the region. With regards to this, he informed that BIMSTEC has crucial contributions to make.
Meanwhile, President Rajapaksa stressed that member states of the organization should formulate comprehensive action plans under specific sectors. These should then reach the people of the region.
Finally, Lekphell also mentioned his visit to the temple of the Tooth in Kandy.