A delegation of the Maldives on Thursday, participated in the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA)'s 'Virtual Meeting of the Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) and Dialogue Partner Engagement on ‘COVID-19: Responses, Cooperation, and Partnerships', to discuss regional cooperation in response to COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a circular released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the virtual meeting was chaired by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the IORA Secretariat.
Bringing together senior officials from IORA member states and dialogue partners, participants discussed the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and explored tangible responses to cooperate and collaborate with member states in need.
Members states also shared COVID-19 success stories and discussed policy measures taken at national levels, including challenges encountered during the implementation of such policies.
During his address, Maldives' Ambassador-at-large Dr Asim Ahmed briefed participants on precautionary measures taken by the Government of Maldives to curb the spread of COVID-19.
In his statement, he called for accelerated regional and international cooperation in assisting the most vulnerable members of IORA, via urgent provision of much-needed assistance such as medical supplies and protective equipment, and urged dialogue partners to come forward and assist the country in its long-term economic recovery.
Inclusive of the Ambassador-at-large, the Maldives delegation comprised of Joint Secretary Fathimath Najwa and Assistant Director Ahmed Salman Zaki.
Mauritius-based IORA is an intergovernmental regional organisation providing a forum for member states and dialogue partners to enhance socio-economic cooperation. Established in 1997, it currently comprises of 22 member states and 10 dialogue partners.
Maldives applied to become IORA's membership in 2017, and was approved during the 18th Council of Ministers in 2018.
In 2019, Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid signed the Instrument of Acceptance, formalising the membership of Maldives by becoming IORA’s 22nd member state.
IORA's member states include Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, UAE, Yemen, and Maldives.