Foreign Secretary His Excellency Ahmed Latheef participated in the 23rd Meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, yesterday. The meeting, held under the theme “Strengthening Regional Architecture: Reinforcing the Indian Ocean Identity,” was hosted by the Incoming Chair of IORA, the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.
The meeting brought together ministers and other high-level delegates from the 23 member states of IORA and Dialogue Partners, and they reiterated their commitment to the IORA goals and objectives enshrined in the Charter, as well as the commitments made by the previous Council of Ministers Meetings. The Colombo Communiqué was adopted at the end of the meeting.
In his statement to the Council of Ministers, the Foreign Secretary drew attention to the risks and exposure that small island developing states face due to the effects of climate change. He also highlighted the priority areas in which the Maldives wishes to engage with IORA and its member states and stated the importance of fostering collaboration and partnerships through the Indian Ocean to address common challenges and harness the potential of the region for sustainable development.
Foreign Secretary Latheef further noted the firm commitment of the Maldives to the common principles enshrined in the IORA Charter and called on Member States to revive the true spirit of regional cooperation.
IORA is a leading inter-governmental organisation formed in 1997 to enhance regional and socio-economic cooperation and development among the countries of the Indian Ocean Region. The Maldives formally joined IORA on November 8, 2019, as its 22nd member state. The 23rd Council of Ministers meeting was preceded by the 25th Committee of Senior Officials meeting that took place in Colombo from 9–10 October 2023.
Foreign Secretary Ahmed Latheef was accompanied by His Excellency Ali Faiz, High Commissioner of the Maldives to the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka; His Excellency Mohamed Faisal, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and Mr Ali Firushan, Deputy Desk Officer, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.