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FM Dr Momen attends 23rd COM of IORA in Colombo

FM Dr Momen attends 23rd COM of IORA in Colombo

Staff Correspondent

Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Dr A K Abdul Momen on Wednesday attended the 23rd Council of Ministers’ Meeting (COM) of Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) in Colombo.

The meeting began in the morning with the handing over of Chairship of IORA to Sri Lanka by Bangladesh.

Bangladesh Foreign Minister in his opening statement congratulated Sri Lanka as the incoming Chair and India as the Vice-Chair of the Association for the period 2023- 2025.

Referring to the Indian Ocean as a 'beacon of hope', he emphasised that activities in the Indian Ocean must be conducted in a safe and secure manner.

In the country statement that followed, as the outgoing Chair Bangladesh Foreign Minister presented to the Council an account of the contributions made by Bangladesh to IORA during its Chairship from 2021 to 2023 such as introducing a comprehensive and systematic compensation package for the Secretariat and streamlining its financial management.

He also shared the progressive role played by Bangladesh to advance the activities of the Association. Referring to the ‘IORA-Development Initiative’ as devised by Bangladesh, he called upon the Dialogue Partners and IORA Member States to support this initiative and patronize other development programs in the region.

Reiterating Bangladesh’s commitments to the Vision of IORA, Dr. Momen stressed on IORA to play an unifying role to strengthen economic relations among IORA member states through an intra-IORA trade and investment agreement and to develop a collective framework for environmental conservation and disaster risk reduction. He expressed hope that IORA would act as a key driving force for peace, development and stability in the region.

After the Council meeting, Foreign Minister called on the President of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe at the latter's office in the afternoon. They discussed issues of bilateral interest and underscored the need for expeditious implementation of existing sectoral cooperation with special focus on ongoing preferential trade agreement (PTA) negotiation, cooperation in business and investment, pharmaceuticals, tourism, shipping and air connectivity.

On the sidelines, he met the British Minister for Indo-Pacific Ms. Anne-Marie Trevelyan where they discussed issues of bilateral cooperation. Foreign Minister also met other high dignitaries of IORA Member States and Dialog Partners including the Indian External Affairs Minister, Foreign Ministers of South Africa and Malaysia and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs of US State Department.
The previous night, Foreign Minister attended a banquet hosted by the President of Sri Lanka.

Foreign Ministers and other high dignitaries of IORA Member States and Dialogue Partners attended the IORA COM. It was preceded by the IORA Committee of Senior Officials (CS0) from 9-10 October. Rear Admiral (Rtd) Khurshed Alam, Secretary, Maritime Affairs Unit (MAU) of Bangladesh Foreign Ministry led the Bangladesh delegation to the CSO.

IORA COM adopted the Colombo Communique as the outcome document.

Foreign Minister was joined by Secretary (MAU) Rear Admiral (Rtd) Md. Khurshed Alam and Bangladesh High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Tareq Md Ariful Islam in the IORA COM meeting and other engagements on the sidelines.

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