Colombo, Dec 18 | Sri Lanka has been endorsed as the Vice Chair of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Council of Ministers from 2021 to 2023 and will take over the position from 2023 to 2025, the Foreign Ministry in Colombo said in a statement on Friday.
The approval of the Sri Lankan application for the position was made at the virtual 20th Council of Ministers meeting hosted by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), reports Xinhua news agency.
Sri Lanka strongly believed that only a safe, secure and peaceful Indian Ocean could bring about economic prosperity, Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said during the meeting .
He reaffirmed Sri Lanka’s commitment to making the Indian Ocean region a zone of peace.
Gunawardena also called for collaborative efforts from all IORA members and dialogue partners.
“Since 2018, Sri Lanka as the Coordinator of the IORA Working Group on Maritime Safety and Security has dedicated its efforts to ensuring that there is greater connectivity via knowledge and experience-sharing through the Work Plan adopted at the Working Group Meeting held in Colombo in August 2019,” the Foreign Minister added.
The statement also said that Sri Lanka was expected to host an IORA blue economy conference in the second half of 2021 and to undertake a study on identifying bottlenecks to maritime trade in the IORA region.
The IORA is an inter-governmental organisation which was established on March 7, 1997.
IORA’s apex body is the Council of Foreign Ministers (COM) which meets annually.
The UAE assumed the role of Chair since November 2019 through November 2021.