The Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Abdulla Shahid has given a statement at the ongoing 19th Council of Ministers of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Maldives is participating in the Council of Ministers of IORA for the first time since joining the organization in November 2018.
While speaking at the conference, Minister Shahid thanked IORA member states for accepting the Maldives’ membership application and gave assurance that the Maldives will be committed to upholding the principles and objectives of the IORA Charter.
Likewise, the minister signed the Instrument of Acceptance, authorizing the Maldives membership by becoming IORA’s 22nd and newest member state.
In his statement, the minister highlighted the strategic importance of regional cooperation due to the unique geographic location of the Maldives that places the country near significant maritime trade routes in the Indian Ocean.
He also highlighted the historical link between the Maldives and the sea-coast states of the Indian Ocean rim, stating that participating in IORA is a valuable opportunity for the country to build closer ties within the region.
He further noted the intersecting priorities of the Maldives and IORA such as maritime safety and security, trade and investment, blue economy, fisheries management, and economic empowerment of women amongst many others.
According to the minister, the government is willing to work closely with regional countries to find realistic, sustainable solutions to serious concerns to the Maldives such as maritime and safety and security, and the need to address the challenges of non-traditional threats in the Indian Ocean such as Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, terrorism, trafficking in persons.
Furthermore, the minister emphasized the importance of collaboration between member countries to ensure peace, security, and stability of the Indian Ocean region while noting the advantages of diversity brought to the organization by member states.
He also stressed that decisions made by the IORA should prioritize regional unity and prosperity for the peoples of the Indian Ocean rim states.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Abdulla Shahid, represented the Maldives as Head of Delegation.
Additional participants in the meeting include His Excellency Dr. Hussain Niyaaz, Ambassador of Maldives to the UAE, Amin Javed Faizal, Additional Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and officials from the Embassy of the Maldives to the United Arab Emirates.
Late President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela initially instilled the vision of IORA during a visit to India in 1995 and the organization has been holding annual meetings since establishment in 1997. Complete with 22 coastal states surrounded by the vast Indian Ocean, IORA provides a platform for Foreign Ministers from member states to gather to discuss policies and reach agreements on future strategic directions.