TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Summit has a strategic value for Indonesia. Asia Pacific and Africa Directorate General at the Foreign Ministry Desra Percaya said Indonesia has a chance to take part at the IORA meeting. "This is in accordance with the [Indonesia’s] nine agenda (nawacita)," he said at his office in Jakarta, Thursday, March 2, 2017.
The Twentieth IORA Summit will be held in three days on March 5-7, 2017, in Jakarta under the theme "Strengthening Maritime Cooperation for a Peaceful, Stable, and Prosperous Indian Ocean". As many as 21 leaders from the IORA member states and seven dialogue partners will meet at the summit.
Desra said the IORA Summit has been held only at the ministerial level. However, this year, as the IORA’s current Chair, Indonesia initiates to improve the level into the leaders’ summit. He said the meeting will discuss economy, terrorism, and women empowerment issues.
One most important theme from the three issues is the Indian Ocean management. Reflecting on the South China Sea water that has been creating disputes between countries, Desra said IORA will not let the Indian Ocean create such conflict of interests or being a bone on contention.
"Based on the evaluation result, the framework behavior at the South China Sea was not organized since the very first," he said.
The Indonesian government, he continued, will not let that happen to the Indian Ocean.
Therefore, an international regulation that governs the behavior in the Indian Ocean would be needed. "We would like to educate since the very beginning about the international law, especially the United Nations Convention on the law of the sea 1982," he said.
Desra stated that the Indian Ocean is located at the strategic place that has big potential. There are at least 2.7 billion of world population reside in the IORA member countries. Besides, 70 percent of water transportation shipping the oil and gas passing by the Indian Ocean. Not to mention the potential of fish catch.
"Do not let IORA become a conflict," he said.
Desra said 16 state leaders have confirmed to attend the IORA Summit. One of them is South Africa President Jacob Zuma and Chinese Government as the dialogue partner.