At a ceremony held at the Secretariat of the Indian Ocean Rim States Association (IORA) in Ebène, Mauritius, on 30 January, Oskar Benedikt, Ambassador of the European Union Delegation to Mauritius, presented the Letter of Acceptance to the Secretary General of IORA, Dr Salman Al Farisi, signed by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell. This letter marks the official start of the European Union’s engagement as a dialogue partner of the IORA.

Photo Alexandre Karghoo: Dr Salman Al Farisi (left, Secretary General of the Indian Ocean Rim States Association) and Oskar Benedikt, Ambassador of the European Union Delegation to Mauritius at the IORA Secretary General in Ebène (Mauritius).

At the 23rd meeting of the IORA Council of Ministers held on 12 October in Colombo, Sri Lanka, the EU was formally admitted as the 12th IORA Dialogue Partner, giving the EU a privileged status within this regional organisation.
The IORA Secretary General underlined the crucial importance of cooperation with organisations such as the European Union, saying: “The IORA recognises the crucial importance of organisations such as the EU in building bridges of cooperation between Member States towards common goals. I firmly believe that growing cooperation between the IORA and the EU will be beneficial for prosperity and stability in the Indian Ocean and beyond.”

In line with its Indo-Pacific cooperation strategy

Ambassador Oskar Benedikt highlighted the political importance of becoming a dialogue partner of the Indian Ocean Rim Association at a time when the European Union is assuming a key role in the region, in line with its strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific: “The decision to apply for dialogue partner status with the IORA demonstrates our determination to deepen our engagement with all our partners in the Indian Ocean”. The EU ambassador identified several priority areas for action in the Indian Ocean: maritime safety, trade and investment facilitation, the promotion of sustainable fisheries and the fight against illegal fishing, disaster risk reduction, the blue economy, and the empowerment of women.
The Indian Ocean Rim Association is an intergovernmental organisation created in 1997 and comprising 23 member states.