South East Asian Headlines & Breaking News

Sri Lanka to assume leadership as chair of Indian Ocean Rim Association

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Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) as well as other senior Ministers of IORA member states and dialogue partners will arrive in Sri Lanka next week for the 23rd IORA Council of Ministers which Sri Lanka is hosting on 11 October 2023 in Colombo.

The Council of Ministers meeting in Colombo will see the participation of sixteen Ministers including the Foreign Ministers of Bangladesh, India, Iran, Mauritius, Malaysia and South Africa as well as Ministerial and senior level participation from Australia, Comoros, France, Indonesia, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Somalia, Tanzania, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Yemen (member countries) and from China, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Türkiye, United Kingdom and United States of America (dialogue partners), the President’s Media Division (PMD) said.

The Council of Ministers is the highest decision making body of IORA.

Foreign Minister Ali Sabry will chair the Council when the current Chair, Foreign Minister of Bangladesh will hand over the chairmanship to the Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka, the PMD mentioned.

The Council will be preceded by the 25th meeting of the Committee of IORA senior officials, which will be chaired by Foreign Secretary Aruni Wijewardane.

The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), established in 1997, is an intergovernmental organization of States on the rim of the Indian Ocean. Its membership spans Africa, West Asia, South Asia, South East Asia and the Oceania. Today, IORA’s membership has expanded to 23 Member States and 11 Dialogue Partners. Sri Lanka will assume the chairmanship of IORA for the period 2023 to 2025 at the 23rd Council of Ministers’ Meeting, according to the PMD.

The Ministers will deliberate on ways to cooperate on the six priority areas identified by the Association, including Trade and Investment, Maritime Safety and Security, Fisheries Management, Disaster Risk Management and Blue Economy, among others. They will be guided by recommendations to be made by the 25th Committee of IORA Senior Officials.

The Secretary General of the Indian Ocean Rim Association Dr Salman Al Farisi and the directors of the IORA Secretariat in Mauritius will also participate in the meeting, it added.

The visiting Ministers will also make a collective call on President Ranil Wickremesinghe and hold bilateral discussions with their Sri Lankan counterpart Foreign Minister Ali Sabry as well as with other Ministers, during their stay in Sri Lanka.

Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia Tim Watts, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr A. K. Abdul Momen, India’s Minister of External Affairs Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Indonesia’s Advisor to the Minister on Political, Legal and Political Affairs (on par with Deputy Minister) Ambassador Adam Mulawarman Tugio, Iran’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Malaysia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Dato Seri Diraja Zambry Abdul Kadir, Mauritius’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade Maneesh Gobin, Oman’s Undersecretary for Political Affairs (on par with State Minister) Sheikh Khalifa bin Ali bin lssa Al-Harthy, Singapore’s Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister of Education and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Mohamed Maliki Bin Osman, South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Dr (Mrs) Naledi Pandor, Thailand’s Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Sihasak Phuangketkeow, United Arab Emirates’s Assistant Minister for Economic and Trade Affairs Sayeed Mubarak Al Hajeri and Yemen’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Awsan Abdullah Ahmed Al-aud are among the Ministers of Foreign Affairs from the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and senior Ministers from IORA Member States who will be attending this meeting.

In addition Dialogue Partners including Japan’s Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Masahiro Komura, Republic of Korea ‘s Deputy Minister for Political Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Hon Chung Byung-won and UK Minster for Indo Pacific Rt Hon (Ms) Anne Marie Trevelyan will also attend the meeting, the PMD added.

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