Today I welcome Foreign Ministers, Deputy Ministers and officials from 26 nations to Perth, Western Australia for the fourteenth annual Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Council of Ministers Meeting.
IORA is the premier regional forum in the Indian Ocean and provides an important opportunity to highlight Australia’s important strategic and economic interests in this region. Together with fellow IORA Members, we have a direct stake in addressing the pressing economic growth and development challenges faced by the over 2 billion people who live around the Indian Ocean Rim.
As Chair of IORA from 2013-15, Australia is working to strengthen the capacity of IORA and promote regional security and prosperity before handing the chairmanship to Indonesia in 2015.
Amongst the more than 300 delegates who will attend tomorrow’s meeting will be Ministers from the United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Sri Lanka.
The IORA COMM presents a unique opportunity for Australia to promote its economic diplomacy agenda in the most dynamic and diverse region in the world the Indo-Pacific.
Ministers will discuss priority issues such as maritime safety and security, including cooperation on search and rescue, trade and investment facilitation, fisheries management, disaster risk management, academic, science and technology, tourism and cultural exchanges. An emerging theme for IORA is empowering women to participate in all aspects of the regional agenda.
The official program will be accompanied by a business stream, which will bring together chambers of commerce and business representatives from around the region, a tangible example of the Australian Government’s focus on economic diplomacy.
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