Indonesia-Proposed Code of Conduct for Countries in Indian Ocean Near Completion

BY :ALIN ALMANAR

OCTOBER 25, 2016

Bali. Countries bordering the Indian Ocean agreed on Tuesday (25/10) over most parts of a concord which has been proposed by Indonesia and is expected to become the standard code of conduct to address common problems in the region, an Indonesian official said.

The agreement means the concord is expected to be signed on Thursday, when 21 member states of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) are scheduled to convene in a council of ministers meeting led by Indonesia's Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.

The meeting is the conclusion of a series of IORA meetings aimed at boosting economic and maritime partnerships hosted by Indonesia in Nusa Dua, Bali, from last Saturday to Thursday. IORA member states will also gather for a meeting of senior officials on Tuesday and Wednesday.

On the sidelines of Tuesday's meeting, Indonesian Foreign Ministry's director general for Asia Pacific and African Affairs Desra Percaya said "there is not much left to be discussed" regarding the concord.

"I can say that more than 90 percent of it has been agreed on," he told reporters. "Thus we hope the whole thing will be agreed on tomorrow and signed during the ministerial meeting on Thursday."

Thursday's signing means the concord is expected to be fully adopted by IORA member countries in March next year, when they are scheduled to convene in the inaugural IORA Summit in Jakarta.

IORA member countries have twice held meetings since March to discuss the concord in Indonesia, including in an ad hoc committee meeting last Saturday and Sunday.

As chair of IORA in 2015-17, Indonesia first proposed the concord at a council of ministers meeting in October last year.

Member countries of the association are Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, South Africa, Singapore, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

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