IORA declines Myanmar membership due to Bangladesh’s opposition

DHAKA Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), an organisation of 22 member states and nine dialogue partners, has declined Myanmar's membership application as Bangladesh strongly opposed the move for its non-cooperation to repatriate Rohingyas.

Myanmar again applied for membership of IORA during the 21st IORA Council of Senior Officials' (CSO) Meeting held in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, on November 5-6.

Bangladesh strongly opposed the membership application of Myanmar for Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) stating that the ground reality of Myanmar's non-cooperation and lack of commitment to repatriate Rohingya refugees have not changed since the last meeting, said a media release received here today.

Bangladesh also stated that Myanmar has failed to demonstrate its willingness to be a responsible state and it lacks respect for international norms and rules.

Since, as per Article 2(c) under the Fundamental Principles of the IORA Charter, decisions on all matters and issues, at all levels will be taken on basis of consensus, Myanmar's membership application has been declined and deferred due to opposition from Bangladesh, said the release.

The CSO Meeting will be followed by the 19th Council of Ministers' Meeting (COMM) which is scheduled to be held at the same venue today. A delegation from Bangladesh Foreign Ministry participated in the CSO Meeting.

During the CSO Meeting, Vice Chairmanship for the tenure of October 2019-October 2021 was officially handed over to Bangladesh. Subsequently, Bangladesh will assume the charge of the chair from October 1, 2021 for two years tenure.

The United Arab Emirates officially assumed the charge of chair for tenure of October 2019-October 2021. Moreover, in the IORA 21st Meeting of CSO, many important issues were discussed, and some important decisions were taken. Based on consensus, Italy was accepted as a Dialogue Partner at the CSO.

Bangladesh also presented the report on the Third IORA Blue Economy Ministerial Conference which took place in Dhaka on September 4-5 this year. The CSO thanked Bangladesh for successful arrangement of the Conference on Blue Economy and reiterated their commitment to hold Dhaka Declaration at the centre of the Blue Economy development in the Indian Ocean region.

IORA, an inter-governmental organisation which was established on March 7 1997, is a dynamic organisation with an ever-growing momentum for mutually beneficial regional cooperation through a consensus-based, evolutionary and non-intrusive approach.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)