IORA Offers Prospects for Boosting Cooperation

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks at the IORA summit in Jakarta on March 7.Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks at the IORA summit in Jakarta on March 7.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif highlighted the importance of the Indian Ocean Rim Association, saying the international organization has provided a “valuable” opportunity for enhancing cooperation among its member states.

Zarif attended the first IORA leaders’ summit in Jakarta on Tuesday on behalf of President Hassan Rouhani, IRNA reported.

The day marked the 20th anniversary of its establishment. The meeting was held on the theme of “Strengthening Maritime Cooperation for a Peaceful, Stable and Prosperous Indian Ocean.”  

“The association offers a valuable opportunity for cooperation and development,” the top Iranian diplomat told the meeting.                                            

"The Islamic Republic has vast resources that can be used to help strengthen maritime links and establish multifaceted relations between IORA and other regional and global markets."

Zarif underlined the role played by the group in securing shipping routes and preventing sea pollution.

He pointed to the strategic position of Chabahar Port, noting that the Iranian port can provide a safe, convenient east-west and north-south link.

Chabahar Port is located alongside the Sea of Oman, near Iran's border with Pakistan. Iran signed a 10-year agreement for the development and operation of Chabahar with India in May 2016.

The summit, which brought together the leaders of 21 member states and seven dialogue partners as well as special invitees and guests, wrapped up the three-day event, which also saw the IORA Committee of Senior Officials and Council of Ministers convene on Sunday and Monday respectively.

Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Abbas Araqchi addressed the ministerial session and a delegation of Iranian experts attended the committee meeting.

The association comprises Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, the UAE and Yemen.

Currently, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States are IORA's dialogue partners.

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