Indonesia to host first Indian Ocean Rim Association summit

Indonesia will host the first Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) summit in Jakarta on March 7, 2017, the Foreign Ministry's Director General for Asia-Pacific and African affairs, Desra Percaya has confirmed.

During the first summit, IORA member states will sign the final IORA Concord, which aims to strengthen economic and strategic cooperation among the 21 countries bordering the Indian Ocean, Desra said on the sidelines of the 2016 Conference on Indonesian Foreign Policy.

"The process of drafting the concord is continuing and will be followed up by an IORA ministerial meeting in October in Nusa Dua, Bali," Desra told journalists.

The decision to hold the first IORA Summit in Jakarta was made at the September 2015 IORA senior officials meeting in Padang, West Sumatra, where the countries agreed to convene at least four times to discuss the drafting of the concord before the summit in March.

Besides maximizing the potential of trade, investment and economic cooperation in the region, the IORA Concord also aims to address non-traditional issues, such as illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, human trafficking, drug trafficking, illegal migration and piracy.

The IORA initiating states are countries bordering the Indian Ocean, namely Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, South Africa, Singapore, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Indonesia is the chair of IORA in the period 2015-2017. (evi)