Remarks by H.E Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation and incoming Chair of IORA, on the occasion of the Press Conference of the Council of Ministers Meeting in Commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), Monday, 06 March 2017, Jakarta, Indonesia

Honourable Minister Marsudi, (Chair)
Honourable Minister Bishop, (Past Chair)
Delegates, and
Members of the Media,

South Africa extends its appreciation to the Honourable Minister Retno Marsudi and the Government and people of Indonesia for the warm hospitality we have received and for making the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Council of Ministers meeting such a success.

South Africa views IORA as the pre-eminent regional organisation linking Africa, the Middle East and Asia via the Indian Ocean. Indeed, the geo-strategic and burgeoning importance of the region cannot be overemphasized. 

The Association is growing in stature and prominence, and it is a privilege for South Africa to be serving currently as the Association’s Vice Chair.  We will assume the Chair position in Durban from October/November 2017 – October 2019.

As South Africa, we extend our sincere appreciation to the IORA Troika of Ministers, including Indonesia and Australia, and Ambassador Bhagirath, as the Secretary-General, for their sterling leadership in guiding IORA. 

This Council of Ministers constituted the last meeting before South Africa assumes the Chair of the Association.  Indeed, the Association is at a critical time in its history, as we prepare to celebrate 20 years of its existence. 

I would wish to express South Africa’s continuing support and appreciation to Indonesia and Minister Marsudi for the sterling leadership of the Association at this meeting.  In particular, I would like to highlight Indonesia’s leadership and vision in guiding us towards IORA’s first Leadership Summit to commemorate the Association’s 20th Anniversary.

This will be a historic milestone and an unprecedented event that will elevate IORA to a higher level through the IORA Concord, and its Action Plan of implementation will guide our work going forward, particularly during South Africa’s Chairship. 

Finally, we also used the opportunity to introduce South Africa’s intended candidate, Dr Nomvuyo Nokwe, for the position of Secretary-General to succeed Ambassador Bhagirath at the end of 2017.  We are engaging with all IORA Member States to support our candidate. 

Thank you.


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