Seychelles unanimously re-admitted in IOR-ARC


17-November-2011

Minister Adam signing the instrument of accession for Seychelles to join IOR-ARC as a full member. To his right is H.E Mr S.M Krishna, Minister of External Affairs of India, and to his left is the secretary general of IOR-ARC, Ambassador Morteza Sarmadi

When he addressed the council, Foreign Affairs minister Jean-Paul Adam described the IOR-ARC as a “natural home” and the perfect platform on which to build up on the experience and practices of sub-regional groupings such as the Indian Ocean Commission, offering a wider framework for cooperation.

“The Indian Ocean is our platform that can allow a small state such as ours to be able to better weather the vagaries of globalisation… The need for cooperation among states of our region is more relevant than ever. We may all be members of other regional groupings, but the Indian Ocean connects us in a fundamental way that goes beyond political groupings,” said the minister.

Besides highlighting the need to better coordinate with other regional mechanisms, the minister also stressed the importance of avoiding project duplications, particularly in tackling piracy – a problem he described as the biggest threat to development in the region.

The ministers gathered agreed that piracy and maritime security – two of the main topics of deliberations – required concerted actions and complementary projects in order to boost regional and the national efforts of member states and ensure practical outcomes.

The council also identified a further five areas of focus for the organisation and they include environmental cooperation, fisheries, tourism, academic exchanges, and trade and investment.

During this IOR-ARC session, India and Australia took the positions of chairmanship and vice-chair respectively, and Ambassador K. V Bhagirath, from the Republic of India, was elected as the new secretary general.

Seychelles had previously joined the organisation in March 1999 but withdrew in July 2003 due to the foreign exchange shortages of that period which forced the government to minimise its engagement with the international community, but following the financial reforms of 2008 and President James Michel’s policy of active economic diplomacy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has pursued a more active role with such vital organizations.

Initially known as the Indian Ocean Rim initiative, the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation was first established in Mauritius in March 1995 and formally launched on March 6-7 1997.
The key objectives of the organisation are:

To promote sustainable growth and balanced development of the region and member states;
To focus on those areas of economic cooperation which provide maximum opportunities for development, shared interest and mutual benefits;

The facilitation of freer and enhanced flows of goods, services and investments in the region; and
To improve market access through trade liberalisation.
The following are the other members of the IOR-ARC and they year they were admitted: Australia (March 1995), Bangladesh (March 1999), India (March 1995), Indonesia (September 1996), Iran (March 1999), Kenya (March 1995), Madagascar (September 1996), Malaysia (September 1996), Mauritius (March 1995), Mozambique (September 1996), Oman (March 1995), Singapore (March 1995), South Africa (March 1995), Sri Lanka (September 1996), Tanzania (September 1996), Thailand (March 1999), United Arab Emirates (March 1999), Yemen (September 1999).

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