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 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 Council will be preceded by the 25th meeting of the Committee of IORA Senior Officials (9-10 October) which will be chaired by Foreign Secretary Aruni Wijewardane.
The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), established in 1997, is an intergovernmental organisation 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.
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.
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.