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Bangladesh has been elected as Vice Chairman of Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) for the period of 2019-21 and eventually as the IORA Chairman for 2021-23. The election was held at the 18th (IORA) Council of Ministers’ Meeting held in Durban, South Africa on 02 November 2018, a foreign ministry press release said Sunday, reports BSS.
As per the practice, IORA is led by Chair and Vice Chair on behalf of the member states while the spell of the posts is two years each. The current Chair is South Africa and the Vice Chair is the UAE. When the incumbent Vice Chair UAE will take the post of Chair in 2019, Bangladesh will assume the Vice Chairmanship. After completion of two years of vice chairmanship, Bangladesh will become the Chairman of IORA for the first time on 01 October 2021.
This year’s Council of Ministers’ Meeting was attended by delegations from IORA’s 21 member states at the ministerial and state ministerial level which included Australia, India, Indonesia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Mauritius, Singapore and the UAE, among others. A delegation led by Rear Admiral Md. Khurshed Alam, Head, Maritime Affairs Unit, with rank to Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs represented Bangladesh at the Council of Ministers’ Meeting.
During the meeting, the Maldives was accepted as the 22nd member of the IORA while Myanmar membership application was not approved due to lack of consensus.
During the meeting, IORA expressed deepest gratitude to the Bangladesh Government for making a special contribution of USD 5750 to support the strengthening of the IORA Secretariat.
At the meeting, Bangladesh informed the IORA member states that it would host the Third IORA Blue Economy Ministerial Conference in Dhaka in September 2019 which would be the first ever IORA ministerial level conference to be organized by Bangladesh.
The 18th IORA Council of Ministers Meeting adopted two outcome documents namely the ‘Declaration on the commemoration of Nelson Mandela’ and the eThekwini Communique which are expected to enhance co-operation among the 21 member states and contribute more in ensuring a peaceful, stable and sustainable Indian Ocean.
The Bangladesh delegation also participated at the 20th IORA Meeting of the Committee of Senior Officials held on 31 October-01 November at the same venue.