PM to lead delegation to IORA Leaders' Summit

ARFA YUNUS

.KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will be leading Malaysia’s delegation to the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Leaders’ Summit in Jakarta this March 7, where he will hold bilateral meetings with leaders at the margins of the summit, to discuss bilateral and regional issues of mutual interest.

The summit with the theme “Strengthening Maritime Cooperation for a Peaceful, Stable and Prosperous Indian Ocean” marks the 20th anniversary of IORA since its official inception in 1997.

Najib, who will be accompanied by his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman and senior officials from the Prime Minister’s Office and Foreign Affairs Ministry, is scheduled to deliver his statement at the General Debate at the summit.

In a statement by the Foreign Ministry today, world leaders are expected to discuss and review the progress and achievements of the two decades of partnership, as well as chart the course for regional cooperation for the next decade.

“The IORA Concord reaffirms member states’ commitments towards the objectives of IORA, which includes promoting maritime safety and security in the region, enhancing trade and investment cooperation, promoting sustainable and responsible fisheries management and development, and fostering tourism and cultural exchanges.

“The Concord also seeks to enhance the existing cooperation and partnerships among member states, as well as utilise more effectively, the inherent advantages of the Indian Ocean region,” the statement read.

The summit will be preceded by two preparatory meetings, namely the Committee of Senior Officials’ Meeting, and the Council of Ministers’ Meeting on March 5 and 6, respectively.

The Prime Minister’s participation would reflect Malaysia’s continued commitment and support for IORA as well as the country’s commitment to enhance regional cooperation with fellow member states and the Dialogue Partners of IORA towards building a peaceful, stable and prosperous Indian Ocean region.

Currently, IORA consists of 21 member states from the Indian Ocean region, and seven dialogue partner states, namely, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.