TEHRAN (Tasnim) - The first meeting of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Maritime Safety and Security Working Group was held in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo, with an Iranian representative in attendance.
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The meeting was held on August 8-9 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, the current coordinator for Maritime Safety and Security (MSS) in IORA.
The IORA Maritime Safety and Security Working Group (WGMSS) was established in September 2018.
The meeting in Colombo was preceded by a panel discussion on "Emerging Scenarios Related to Safety and Security in the Indian Ocean", attended by the MSS experts.
The two-day meeting was attended by MSS officials and experts from 16 IORA members, namely Iran, Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Oman, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Tanzania.
The meeting has provided a platform for the IORA members to finalize the draft Work Plan for the WGMSS which has been drawn up for an initial period of two years, according to IORA's official website.
The purposes of the Work Plan are to build the foundation for a collaborative IORA MSS Framework based on the respective needs and priorities of members, to establishing an integrated policy approach on MSS, including through capability enhancement and capacity building, and to create a Coordinated Regional Vision for MSS in IORA to address the existing and emerging issues.
In an address to the gathering, Sri Lanka's Secretary for Foreign Affairs Ravinatha Aryasinha said, "The region is entering a new dynamic era and maintaining a safe and secure Indian Ocean is crucial for our future property. This requires a coordinated multilateral approach to Maritime Security as well as coordinated efforts to improve maritime infrastructure. A concerted effort will be required for the region to achieve its full potential."
The meeting has reportedly resulted in significant approaches towards formulating and finalizing the regional WGMSS Work Plan based on inclusive and consensus-based cooperation among the IORA members.
According to IORA's secretariat, the Colombo meeting also reflected the evolving activities of the association, as documented in the outcomes of a recent IORA Strategic Planning Workshop session, which underscored the importance of a viable regional security architecture.