Islamabad Pakistan Foreign Secretary Mr Aitzaz Chaudery while addressing officials of ECO summit in Islamabad said I am honoured to address and Chair the Senior Officials Meeting and thank you for bestowing your trust in me. I would like to avail myself of this opportunity to warmly welcome you to Pakistan and wish you a pleasant stay.
Aitzaz Ch elected as Chairman SOM of ECO today which wa attended by ECO Members: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Rep, Pakistan,Tajikistan,Turkmenistan,Turkey, Uzbekistan
Aitzaz Ch said We are happy to host the 13th ECO Summit and look forward to advancing our mutual goals in the coming days leading up to the Summit.
Aitzaz welcomed the ECO officials Our deep appreciation is due to H.E. Mr. Halil Ibrahim Akca, Secretary General ECO and his team for their hard work and support in making these events successful.
I would also like to acknowledge the valuable contribution made by the member states of ECO towards regional cooperation and economic integration.
Pakistan has always attached immense importance to the organization and its objective as demonstrated by our active role in the ECO.
The 13th ECO Summit has adopted the topical theme of “Connectivity for Regional Prosperity” as its key focus. The economic integration and connectivity are the main pillars to galvanize economic growth, create job opportunities, expand trade, improve competitiveness and usher prosperity in the region.
There is a need to create a world-class logistics infrastructure within the ECO region for speedy movement of goods and people at a reduced cost that would stimulate investment and growth. China-Pak Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a major initiative in this regard. This is a mega project which would benefit the entire region. The CPEC is anticipated as a game changer not only in Pakistan-China context but it would also complement the economies of the entire neighbourhood, especially the ECO region.
ECO Vision 2025 is an important document which would steer the Organization and serve as a roadmap for the success of the Organization in the coming years. Its emphasis on infrastructure development, facilitation of transit among member states and free trade offer potential & practical remedies for the region’s socio-economic development. We see the adoption of Vision 2025 as a step in the right direction.
Importance of trade figures show that ECO countries cannot be over emphasized. Pakistan attaches great importance to its trade relations with the ECO countries and desires to significantly raise the volume of its trade with the member states.
Peace in Afghanistan is very dear to us. Pakistan is major affectee of the instability in Afghanistan and considers Afghanistan as its twin brother and fully supports the peace process in Afghanistan.
We welcome the upcoming ECO Special Meeting on Afghanistan under the ambit of ECO in Kabul this year and let me assure our Afghan brothers that we would continue to contribute to ECO’s efforts to provide assistance to Afghanistan.
The Financial health of ECO Secretariat is essential. As you know, the issue of outstanding arrears by some Member States has become a serious impediment in the smooth functioning of the Secretariat. We hope that the member states in arrears would take measures for the payment of their dues at the earliest.
As regards Scale of Assessment, some of the Member States including Pakistan have agreed to the proposal of ECO Secretariat. Pakistan is working out a plan in this regard.
I am grateful to the Permanent Representatives for diligently working on the draft and clearing almost 75% of the Islamabad Declaration. The remaining paragraphs, I am confident, would be adopted in a spirit of cooperation, and mutual accommodation. Pakistan would be glad to work with the colleagues for evolving consensus on the draft Declaration.
I am of the firm belief that under the guidance of this august house we will examine closely the progress achieved so far and work together to take the Organization forward, I am confident that with our collective efforts we can make ECO a vehicle for progress and prosperity in our region.
Let me conclude by saying that Pakistan has always attached great importance to ECO and will remain in the forefront for the actualization of its agenda.