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22nd IORA Council of Ministers meeting begins in Dhaka Thursday

Rafiqul Islam Azad Diplomacy 2022-11-23, 8:08pm

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The 22nd IORA Council of Ministers (COM) meeting is scheduled to be held in Dhaka on Thursday.

Bangladesh, the current Chair of Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), will host the meeting which will take place in InterContinental Dhaka.

IORA is an inter-governmental organisation aimed at strengthening regional cooperation and sustainable development within the Indian Ocean region.

Minister and state minister-level participants have already reached Dhaka to join the meeting.

IORA ministers meet Thursday, Momen for making the best use of sea

Dhaka, Nov 23 (UNB) - Bangladesh, the current Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Chair, will host the 22nd IORA Council of Ministers (COM) meeting in Dhaka on Thursday.

The 24th meeting of the Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) was held here in a Dhaka hotel on November 22-23.

Ministers, State Ministers and Assistant Foreign Ministers of the IORA member states are already in Dhaka to attend the meeting.

The 23-member states of IORA and 10 dialogue partners are expected to join the ministerial meeting.

The IORA member states are -- Australia, Bangladesh, Union of Comoros, France, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Republic of Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told media that they want “free, inclusive, secure and peaceful” navigation for all without any encumbrance in the region.

He laid emphasis on making the best use of the sea in a more “regulated, progressive and scientific” way.

The foreign minister highlighted the priority areas of the IORA - maritime safety and security; trade and investment facilitation, fisheries management, disaster risk management, tourism and cultural exchanges; academic, science and technology cooperation, blue economy and women’s economic empowerment.

He said the ministers and state ministers will jointly meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during their stay in Dhaka.

Meanwhile, Australian High Commission in Dhaka in a media release said that Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs The Hon Tim Watts, MP has already arrived in Dhaka to join the IQRA Council of Ministers meeting.

In a statement, the Australian Assistant Minister said as the only ministerial-level forum in the Indian Ocean, IORA plays a pivotal role in helping the region work together to address shared challenges. 

"I also look forward to having the opportunity to deepen our engagement with the other 22 member states of IORA and represent Australia’s interests, including a secure, prosperous and inclusive Indian Ocean region that supports independent, sovereign and resilient states," said the statement.

He said he would also meet regional counterparts, including the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, Dr Abul Kalam Abdul Momen, to discuss Australia’s constructive engagement across the Indian Ocean.

"I look forward to strengthening Australia’s engagement with these important partners," he added.