Indian Ocean rim states met Saturday, April 7, in the Omani capital to study joint economic projects involving the private sector and ways of boosting trade, the ONA news agency reported.
Oman's Foreign Minister Yussef Bin Alawi Bin Abdallah told the third ministerial meeting of the 19-member Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation that the bloc "must seriously consider setting up joint economic projects".
"The private sector in IOR-ARC member countries must fulfill its role in this field and the obstacles it is facing must be overcome," he said in Muscat.
He called on the littoral states to start a joint shipping company and to strengthen ties to help preserve fish stocks.
Mozambique Foreign Minister Leonard Santos Simao, chairman of the association's ministerial council, noted that member states had to opportunity "to facilitate trade and investment, including joint projects, to strengthen exchanges and to launch research programs."
The IOR-ARC, which decided at its last meeting in January 2000, also in Muscat, to avoid political conflict and concentrate on economic cooperation, groups Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, the Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
The IOR-ARC, formed in March 1997, is pledged to boost trade and investment between country members and to promote projects aimed at exploiting members' natural and mineral resources. — (AFP, Muscat)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)