Friday, March 17, 2017


Jakarta, March 17, 2017 (Antara) - Identifying terrorism as a global challenge, nations located in the Indian Ocean rim have shown determination to maintain security and stability to protect the region from terrorism.
         For this, member countries of the Indian Ocean Rim Association, (IORA) during its first summit held in Jakarta, early March 2017, issued a Declaration on Preventing and Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism, which is expected to have a significant influence on economic cooperation across the Indian Ocean region.
         In the declaration, the member states have denounced terrorism and violent extremism in all its forms and manifestations.
         They have resolved to stand together to prevent and counter terrorism and violent extremism, and to work to support each other's efforts to counter the threat from terrorism and violent extremism, including through enhanced cooperation and coordination of efforts, dialogue and sharing of information, expertise, best practices and experiences, as well as by stemming the funding for terrorism.
         They have agreed to cooperate against terrorist and violent extremist ideology and propaganda by, promoting positive messages of respect, tolerance, co-existence, inclusion, diversity and social cohesion, among others.    
    Besides these, they have also vowed to promote the role of education and society in building resilience against violent extremism, including fostering inclusion and respect for different cultures and beliefs, as well as enhancing women's role in preventing and countering terrorism and violent extremism.

         IORA encourages close dialogue among civil society, religious, cultural, educational and other institutions to prevent and counter terrorism and violent extremism.
         They have also pledged to strengthen their determination to continue efforts to resolve conflicts, eradicate poverty, eliminate marginalization, promote sustainable development, good governance, human rights and the rule of law, improve intercultural understanding, and ensure respect for all religions, religious values, beliefs and cultures, while addressing terrorism and violent extremism.
         Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who participated in the summit, lauded Indonesia for its pioneering efforts resulting in the issuance of the declaration.   
    "Indonesia has proven that values of Islam, democracy, and moderation can be compatible in daily life," Turnbull told the press on the sidelines of the summit.
         Meanwhile, Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno LP Marsudi explained that there were several important objectives in strengthening the cooperation within IORA, namely, to ensure peace, security and stability in the region; establish better maritime infrastructure; juxtapose cultures of the IORA members; improve maritime resources management; and strengthen dialogue and diplomacy in the region.
         As the IORA chair for the 2015-2017 period, the Indonesian government had selected the theme "Strengthening Maritime Cooperation for Peaceful, Stable and Prosperous Indian Ocean."
    The IORA member states are Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Somalia, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
         In addition, IORA also has seven dialogue partners, namely the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Egypt, France, and the People's Republic of China.
         The IORA was started in March 1995, when South African Prime Minister Nelson Mandela visited India to initiate the establishment of the Indian Ocean Rim Initiative.
         Two years later, the first conference was held in Mauritius from March 5 to 7, 1997, in conjunction with the establishment of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC).
         In 2012, the name of the IOR-ARC was changed to the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).
         The IORA member states have continued to witness several challenges, such as conflict, terrorism, illegal movement of people, illicit trafficking of drugs, and climate change, as well as the shift in the global, political and economic order.      These challenges trigger uncertainty and may deepen mistrust between nations, Minister Marsudi noted.
         "Through global partnership, we shall convert global challenges into opportunities in the Indian Ocean," Minister Marsudi emphasized, adding that trust building among member countries is also crucial.
         The organization is based on the principles of open regionalism for strengthening economic cooperation, particularly on trade facilitation and investment promotion, as well as social development of the region.
         The Indonesian government believes that the Indian Ocean will be the future ocean for global economic growth.
         "The Indian Ocean is very strategic, as half of the world container ships pass through it. One third of the container ships are cargo ships and represent two-thirds of the global shipment. The data suggests that the Indian Ocean will be the future ocean for global economic growth," Minister Marsudi said.
         Hence, IORA member states have the obligation to maintain peace and stability in the region. ***2***

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