Press release

High Commissioner Accouche participates in 25th Committee of Senior Officials and 23rd Council of Ministers’ Meetings of the IORA

October 17, 2023

High Commissioner Lalatiana Accouche represented Seychelles at the 23rd Council of Ministers’ of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Meeting held in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 11th October 2023 under the theme – “Strengthening Regional Architecture: Reinforcing Indian Ocean identity.

Hosted by Sri Lanka, as the new Chair of the Association for the next two years (2023 to 2025), the 23rd IORA Council of Ministers was preceded by the 25th Committee of Senior Officials Meeting held from 9th – 10th October 2023, which was chaired by Sri Lanka’s Foreign Secretary, assisted by India as the new Vice Chair and the new IORA Troika Member.

The two meetings saw the participation of all the 23 Member States of IORA and the 11 Dialogue Partners (China, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Türkiye, United Kingdom and United States of America).  The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia attended the IORA meetings after its admission as the newest Dialogue Partner of the IORA.

During the meetings, participants discussed cooperation for the six priority areas that were identified by the Association, namely Trade and Investment, Maritime Safety and Security, Fisheries Management, Disaster Risk Management, Women’s Empowerment and Blue Economy, amongst others.

Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, H.E. Mr. Ali Sabry, considered the presence of all participants as “a testament to the spirit of collaboration and cooperation that defines the region, and that Sri Lanka appreciates their commitment to strengthen the ties that binds the Indian Ocean community. That in the great tradition of hospitality, Sri Lanka opens its doors and its heart to its guests”.

The Colombo Communiqué which was adopted reaffirmed the Member States’ commitment to the IORA goals and objectives enshrined in the Charter as well as their support to Sri Lanka as the new Chair of IORA to lead a vibrant and purpose-driven Association for the benefits of all Member States and their peoples.

The Ministers welcomed the offer of the Government of Sri Lanka to host a Leaders’ Summit of IORA in Colombo in 2024 to reflect on the Way Forward for the Indian Ocean Rim Association towards and beyond 2030.

Bangladesh’ s constructive contribution during its Chairship (2021-2023), including streamlining financial management of the Secretariat was recognized, and in particular the active role in advancing the activities of the Association.

The Council of Ministers is the highest decision-making body of IORA and the Ministers are guided by the Senior Officials who meet as a Committee of Senior Officials, prior to the Council of Ministers.

On the sideline of the meetings, High Commissioner Accouche also had a meeting with H.E. Mr. Chung Byung Won, Deputy Minister for Political Affairs of the Republic of Korea.