10-country ECO summit ends in Pakistan with pledge to enhance connectivity and trade

10-country ECO summit ends in Pakistan with pledge to enhance connectivity and trade

ECO summit was attended by heads of state of all ECO member states and Executive Foreign Minister of China Zhang Yesui was special guest of the conference.

The 13th summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) ended on creating a positive and optimistic note of collectively fight the “challenge of terrorism” and push for greater collaboration on trade, energy, and infrastructure in Islamabad.

A regional Economic Cooperation held in Islamabad Pakistan has concluded with 10 nation’s presidents and ambassador’s Envisioning a prosper future that sees the bloc achieve economic connectivity and assert its influence on a global scale.

The conference was attended by eight heads of state and government and all ECO member states: Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan. The special guest of the conference was Executive Vice Foreign Minister of China Zhang Yesui.

Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan founded the organization in 1985, which now extended to most central Asian states include Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan states in the organization.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif while speaking at the conference said that “There has never been a more opportune time to realize our dreams of connectivity for regional prosperity”.

“We are determined to collectively face challenges such as extremism, terrorism, and drug trafficking in order to realize our vision of making the region a zone of peace and prosperity, We have committed ourselves to working together for bringing progressive change to the lives of the people in our region, transforming it into a bastion of peace, progress, and prosperity”, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif added.

Iranian President Hassan Rohani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were among the heads of states who attended.

Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Bakytzhan Sagintayev said the ECO organization should give priority to communication and infrastructure projects, pointing out that Kazakhstan is implementing huge projects that would link the country with Europe and the One Belt, One Road project.

Prime Minister of Kyrgyz Republic Sooronbay Jeenbekov called on ECO counties to cooperate on trade, transport, agriculture, economy, tourism, science, and technology.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan noted that Turkey is implementing a number of big infrastructure projects that would link the country with neighboring countries and regions through rail, roads, sea, and air. This includes construction of the world’s largest airport in Istanbul.

Addressing the summit, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev laid special emphasis on mutual cooperation in the field of infrastructure, connectivity, and transportation for the development and the progress of the region.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the 21st Century is the era of emerging economy in Asia, where economic activities are transferring from the West to the East. “Connectivity will help development and prosperity in the region,” he said.

President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon also called for ECO member states to step up implementing joint infrastructure projects to facilitate connectivity of transport and energy networks and to develop road and sea routes through establishment of transport corridors.

Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan, Omar Zakhilwal, said peace and stability in the region will enable nations to achieve economic goals.

Addressing the conference, Executive Vice Foreign Minister of China Zhang Yesui urged ECO countries have friendly ties with China in terms of cultural linkages, proximity, and old China Silk Road. Such cooperation will help promote China’s initiative of Belt and Road cooperation for greater regional integration, development, and prosperity.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project has the potential to connect with Central Asia and Iran and eventually all of ECO, and the member states have shown interest in such a development.

Pakistan must ensure now that the infrastructure and connectivity projects that it has undertaken are completed on time to meet the goals of this ECO conference.

The conference took place under tight security after a wave of recent suicide bombings by various militant groups killed more than 125 people across Pakistan.

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