14th Summit of Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) held virtually

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The 14th Summit of Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) was held virtually on March 4, 2021 under the chairmanship of H.E. Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the honourable President of the Republic of Turkey. It was inaugurated by H.E. Mr. Imran Khan, the honourable Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan being the previous Chair. The Chair was handed over to Turkey being the host of the Summit. All the ten ECO Heads of States and the ECO Secretary General, as well as the ECO Observers, including the President of Turkish Cypriot State, Secretaries General of the Turkic Council and International Energy Charter were present in the Summit. The event, convened under the theme of ‘Regional Economic Cooperation in the aftermath of COVID-19.

H.E. Prime Minister Imran Khan in his inaugural speech congratulated Turkey on successfully organizing the Summit during these challenging times. He highlighted the regional and global health and economic consequences of Covid-19, and elaborated Pakistan’s ‘people and poor-centric approach’ to tackle the pandemic. The Prime Minister highlighted his 5-point plan to provide fiscal space to developing countries to deal with the adverse socio-economic impacts of the Covid-19.

H.E. President Erdogan, while acknowledging the significance of ECO for regional development, emphasized on the early implementation of ECO Trade Agreement (ECOTA) and other progressive initiatives aimed at pushing the process of development in the region. He noted that the COVID-19 pandemic gravely damaged the global economy and trade, straining on the existing healthcare system. President Erdogan said: “we can only win the fight against this global debacle through strong solidarity, regional and international cooperation.” He underscored that during Turkey’s Chairmanship of the Organization, the country had remained focussed on consolidating the organization and advancing regional cooperation.

During the Summit, it was decided that the next ECO Summit Meeting will be hosted by Turkmenistan in November 2021 and thus the Chair was passed on to Turkmenistan. The honorable President of Turkmenistan, H.E. Mr. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov assumed the chairmanship of the ECO for 2021. The ECO Heads of States/Governments extended felicitations to H.E President Berdimuhamedov assumption of responsibilities as the new ECO Chair.

After assuming the chairmanship of of ECO, H.E. President of Turkmenistan expressing thanks for the assigned responsibility, assured of his country’s complete support to secure the organization’s overall aims and objectives. Voicing the priority vectors of cooperation within the framework of Turkmenistan’s chairmanship of the ECO, he underlined his country’s intention to promote the organization’s work, focussing on the development of economic, cultural and humanitarian ties. He added that unfolding of the trade, transit-transport, energy, industrial and communication potential of the ECO would remain in the center of Turkmenistan’s strategy during their chairmanship of the Organization. President Berdimuhamedov considered the establishment of economic corridors as a system of sustainable routes for the movement of goods, services, investment and industrial cooperation as well as energy corridors for diversification of energy resources supplies in the region, as Turkmenistan’s key mission, with participation of Member States. He underscored that the essence of cooperation amongst ECO Member States was the geographical and historical ties, shared traditions, customs and values.

The ECO Secretary General, H.E. Dr. Hadi Soleimanpour briefed on the ECO’s recent developments made in the organization’s priority areas of cooperation, including trade & investment, transit-transport, energy, tourism as well as activities and engagements for enhanced economic connectivity in the region. He also illuminated the finalization of latest reform process to enhance the sense of owner/partner-ship amongst all Member States, as well as ECO’s fresh approach for making the organization more project and result-oriented.

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