ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday assured his government’s support for re-energising the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO).
He was speaking to ECO Secretary General Dr Hadi Soleimanpour, who was on his first visit to Pakistan after assuming the top office of the 10-member bloc, which besides Pakistan includes Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan and six Central Asian Republics.
Mr Khan appreciated the role of the ECO, according to a PMO statement. While discussing challenges faced by the ECO, the prime minister assured the secretary general of full support of his government.
“He hoped that under the able supervision of Dr Hadi the Organisation will achieve its objectives. He also wished success for the Secretary General’s reform agenda,” the statement further said.
The ECO, which is a regional inter-governmental body, was expected to function on the format of the European Union, but lack of interest of member states and rivalries within the organisation has prevented the bloc from achieving its objectives.
The last summit hosted by Pakistan in 2017 had adopted Islamabad Declaration and Vision 2025. The declaration had called for development of transport and communication infrastructure, facilitation of trade and investment, promotion of connectivity with other regions, effective use of energy resources and undertaking measures for making the ECO effective and efficient. The Vision 2025 had further underscored promotion of cooperation among member states.
Dr Hadi, while briefing the prime minister of background and activities of the ECO, underscored its importance as a regional economic organisation aimed at enhanced regional social contacts, trade liberalisation and greater connectivity.
Published in Dawn, March 13th, 2019