ECO Summit 2017: Leaders urge for regional economic cooperation, connectivity

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The leaders of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) have urged for regional economic cooperation and connectivity, saying it will help development and prosperity in Asia.

While addressing the 13th ECO Summit in Islamabad on Wednesday, the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for early completion of reforms in ECO, strengthening of human resource of ECO Secretariat and an evolution of a mechanism for ownership of projects.

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

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

In his address, President of Azerbaijan lham 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.

The Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that 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.

Hassan Rouhani said that the 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.

The Iranian president said that 21st century is the era of emerging economy of Asia. He said that economic activities are transferring from the West to East.

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

The ECO Secretary General Halil Ibrahim said in his address that the 13th ECO Summit is of prime importance for ECO to review its performance and for guidance for future endeavours of the Organization.

In his address, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon said that trade, investment and effective use of energy resources constitute key elements of regional cooperation. He said that ECO member states should pay greater attention to implementation of joint infrastructure projects to facilitate connectivity of transport and energy networks in the region.

Emomali Rahmon said that 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.

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

In his address, 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.

The Kyrgyzstan’s prime minister laid great emphasis on the cooperation in diverse sectors including trade, transport, agriculture, economy, tourism, science and technology. He 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.

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

The Afghanistan’s Ambassador to Pakistan Omar Zakhilwal in his address reiterated that his country is committed to the realization of aims and objectives of ECO. He said that peace and stability is necessary in member states to promote regional connectivity. He stressed the need for utilization of regional resources for the benefits of all the ECO member states.

The Afghan envoy said that we can meet the challenges of poverty and other challenges through implementing a joint strategy.