ECO leaders urge for regional economic cooperation, connectivity

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ISLAMABAD: The 13th summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) held in Islamabad to focus on enhanced economic cooperation and regional connectivity.

The theme of the 13th Summit was “Connectivity for Regional Prosperity”, which assumes special significance in the backdrop of monumental project of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Secretary General Halil Ibrahim’s while addressing the summit congratulated Prime Minister on his election as Chairman of the Summit and hoped that under his able leadership, the ECO will make further progress.

He said the Summit is of prime importance for ECO to review its performance and for guidance for future endeavours of the Organization.

Highlighting overall profile of the ECO, Halil Ibrahim said the population of ECO region has reached 471 million and its GDP has cross one trillion dollars. He said intra-trade of the region has improved to 8.7 percent in 2015 to 5.3 percent in 2000.

He pointed out that ECO continues to implement programmes and plans decided by its decision making bodies. He said trade, transport and energy are the core areas being focused by the Organization.

The ECO Secretary General said special emphasis has been given to Corridors which will provide access to the ECO landlocked countries. He said tourism has been prioritized as priority area in the ECO Vision. He said process is going on to promote tourism activities in the region.

He said ECO has signed forty-five MOUs and Agreements with the UN System and other regional and international organizations in different fields. He said ECO has also developed its external relations with other Organizations like UN and OIC.

Sooronbay Jeenbekov’s address to ECO Summit

Prime Minister of Kyrgyz Republic Sooronbay Jeenbekov has said that ECO will make rapid progress to reap benefits of mutual economic cooperation under the leadership of Pakistan.

He laid great emphasis on the cooperation in diverse sectors including trade, transport, agriculture, economy, tourism, science and technology.

Sooronbay Jeenbekov said that collective and joint approach of the ECO member states will make the organization a vibrant platform for mutual cooperation and bring development and prosperity to the region.

Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Bakytzhan Sagintayev’s address to ECO Summit

Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Bakytzhan Sagintayev said ECO has evolved into a multilateral platform to facilitate development of the region.

He said the organization should give priority to communication and infrastructure projects.

He said Kazakhstan is also implementing huge projects that would link the country with Europe and the Chinese project of One Belt One Road.

The Kazakh President also called for attaching more importance to energy security in the region. 

He invited members states to participate in an international science expo being held in his country this year.

Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow’s address to ECO Summit

Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow has said ECO is an important for constructive dialogue among member states. He said ECO has set the direction of development of the member states.

He said ECO has significant potential for expanding partnership particularly in vital issues including security. He stressed the need for cooperation among member states in energy. He said Turkemnistan’s energy strategy is multi-directional.

Turkmenistan President said construction work on Turkemnistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline has been started and implementation of this project is being realised with the participation of ECO member states.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s address to ECO Summit

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for early completion of reforms in ECO, strengthening of human resource of ECO Secretariat and a evolution of a mechanism for ownership of projects.

He laid stress on cooperation in energy and said his country would support all initiatives aimed at realization of this objective. The Turkish President also underscored the need for greater cooperation in agriculture, environment and tourism.

He said Turkey is implementing a number of big infrastructure projects that would link the country with neighbouring countries and regions through rail, roads, sea and air. This includes construction of the world’s largest airport in Istanbul.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan also urged the need for resolution of political disputes and joint efforts to tackle the menace of terrorism.

Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev’s address to ECO Summit

Addressing the Summit, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev laid special emphasis on mutual cooperation among the ECO countries in the field of infrastructure, connectivity, and transportation for the development and the progress of the region.

He also condemned the growing Islmophobia and made it clear that Islam is a religion of peace and it should not be linked with terrorism. President Ilham Aliyev thanked Pakistan for its support on the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s address to ECO Summit

In his speech at the 13th ECO Summit, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said with more understanding among the heads of State and Governments, we would be able to take longer strides in advancing the programmes and activities of the Organization.

He said ECO can play a vital role in building the future of economy of our region and for this to happen, he said the ECO needs restructuring. He said 21st century is the era of emerging economy of Asia.  He said economic activities are transferring from the West to East.

He said we have to connect ECO countries through highways. He said promotion of connectivity will help development and prosperity in Asia.

Hassan Rouhani said Iran is ready to play its role in solidifying the Economic Cooperation Organization.

He said the holding of 13th ECO Summit in Pakistan is a good omen and it will help implement long terms plans of the Organization.

President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon’s address at ECO Summit

President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon said trade, investment and effective use of energy resources constitute key elements of regional cooperation.

He said ECO member states should pay greater attention to implementation of joint infrastructure projects to facilitate connectivity of transport and energy networks in the region.

He said activities of the ECO should help promote socio-economic development, poverty reduction and improvement in living standards in the member states. The Tajik President also emphasized the need for developing road and sea routes through establishment of transport corridors.

He expressed the confidence that implementation of the high voltage power transmission line CASA-1000, acknowledged to be the first ever energy project between South and Central Asian regions, would help realize the objective of shared progress.

Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan, Sooronbay Jeenbekov’s address at ECO Summit

Addressing the Summit, Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan, Sooronbay Jeenbekov said that ECO will make rapid progress to reap benefits of mutual economic cooperation under the leadership of Pakistan.

He laid great emphasis on the cooperation in diverse sectors including trade, transport, agriculture, economy, tourism, science and technology.

Sooronbay Jeenbekov said that collective and joint approach of the ECO member states will make the organization a vibrant platform for mutual cooperation and bring development and prosperity to the region.

Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Ulugbak Rozukulov’s address at the Summit

Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Ulugbak Rozukulov proposed joint projects in transport, energy and communication sectors.

He also proposed intensified collaboration in agriculture sector aimed at achieving food security.

He said Uzbekistan is working on a number of infrastructure development projects in collaboration with other neighbouring countries including Uzbekistan-Turkmenistan-Iran-Oman corridor.

The Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan said peace in the region was pre-requisite for sustainable progress and development.

President of Turkish Northern Cyprus Mustafa Akinci’s address at Summit

Speaking as observer, President of Turkish Northern Cyprus Mustafa Akinci said Northern Cyprus wants to contribute more effectively to ECO’s work.

He said they want to engage in strong economic, cultural and social interaction with the ECO member states. He sought support of member countries in the fields of higher education and tourism.  He said that they genuinely want to find a comprehensive solution of the Cyrpus issue and hope the other side would reciprocate this gesture.

Representatives of Turkish Council and International Energy Charter said peace and security were necessary for progress and development.

Afghanistan Ambassador to Pakistan Omar Zakhilwal’s address at Summit

Addressing the Summit, Afghanistan Ambassador to Pakistan Omar Zakhilwal reiterated that his country is committed to the realisation of aims and objectives of ECO.

He said peace and stability is necessary in member states to promote regional connectivity. He stressed the need for utilisation of reginal resources for the benefits of all the members states.

He said we can meet the challenges of poverty and other challenges through implementing a joint strategy.

The Afghan Envoy expressed gratitude to all the leaders in the Summit for expressing support for the war-ravaged Afghanistan. He hoped that under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the ECO will be pushed to the new heights and extended full support on behalf of Afghanistan.

Source: Online

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