Media Statement

20 November 2022

Deputy Minister Mashego-Dlamini arrives in Bangladesh for the IORA Ministerial Meeting

The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Candith Mashego-Dlamini, has arrived in Dhaka, Bangladesh, to attend the 22nd Meeting of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Council of Ministers (COM). The meeting is scheduled to take place from 22-24 November 2022.

The Meeting in Dhaka will be the first COM to be held in person with Ministers attending the meeting since the outbreak of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic. The Secretariat, with the support of Member States and Dialogue Partners, managed to conduct all the relevant IORA Meetings virtually during the COVID--19 pandemic and were all well attended with outcomes contributing to the continued development and progress of the Association.

It is expected that the 22nd COM Meeting will consider and approve the Third IORA Action Plan for the period 2023 to 2026.

South Africa is a founding member of IORA and supports the growth and development of the Association.

The basis of the organisation emerged out of former President Nelson Mandela’s State Visit to India in 1995, and his vision continues to propel the IORA in the 21st century.

In January 1995, during the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation Lecture in New Delhi, President Mandela stated: “The natural urge of the facts of history and geography that Nehru spoke of should broaden itself to include exploring the concept of an Indian Ocean Rim of socio-economic co-operation and other peaceful endeavours; of a special relationship that should help improve the lot of the developing nations in multilateral institutions such as the United Nations, Commonwealth and Non-Aligned Movement.”

The Indian Ocean is the third largest ocean through which most of the world’s major sea-lanes pass and it maintains the lion’s share of the world’s merchant vessels and two thirds of the world’s crude oil shipments.

On the margins of the IORA COM, Deputy Minister Mashego-Dlamini is expected to hold bilateral meetings with various ministers and government stakeholders. The Deputy Minster’s visit to Bangladesh is expected to confirm to the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh the importance South Africa attaches to its relationship with Bangladesh and South Africa’s desire to strengthen and consolidate bilateral relations.

Furthermore, the visit will build on the outcomes of recently exchanged high-level visits, including the visit of the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, Dr AK Momen, to South Africa in August 2021 and the bilateral engagements of Minister Naledi Pandor on the margins of the 21st IORA COM from 16-18 November 2021.

South Africa established diplomatic relations with Bangladesh in September 1994, followed by the opening of the High Commission of Bangladesh in Pretoria. South Africa is non-residentially accredited to Bangladesh through the South African High Commission in New Delhi, India.

Bangladesh and South Africa share a common vision on a range of global issues and South Africa regards Bangladesh as an important partner to jointly advance the development agenda of countries of the South in global fora. South Africa and Bangladesh share membership of the following international organisations: the G77+China, Commonwealth, Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and IORA. Bangladesh is the current Chair of the IORA.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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