7 Bay of Bengal nations to work for free trade region

From Left to Right, Myanmar's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs U Kyaw Tin, Bhutanese Foreign Minister Damcho Dorji, Bangladeshi Foreign Minister

Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj waits for other ministers to join for a group photograph during the BIMSTEC ministerial meeting in Kathmandu, Ne

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Seven South Asian and Southeast Asian nations have agreed to conclude early a free trade accord, implement the Paris agreement on climate change and step up cooperation among their security agencies to combat terrorism.

The foreign ministers of Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal on Friday expressed "great concern'" over increasing threats to the planet and peoples' livelihoods from climate change and agreed to combat it at local, national and regional levels.

They met in the Nepalese capital under the aegis of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, or BIMSTEC.

The ministers agreed to expedite the ratification of the BIMSTEC Convention on Cooperation in Combating International Terrorism and Transnational Organized Crime and Illicit Drug Trafficking.