Iran’s Zarif calls for new regional economic architecture among ECO member states

IRNA – Addressing the opening session of the 22nd ECO Council of Ministers meeting, the outgoing Chairman and Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says new regional economic architecture among ECO member states is required to ensure implementation of ‘Vision 2025’.

“New regional economic architecture for cooperation and integration within the ECO is required to ensure that the “Vision” and other such frameworks will deliver their expected output, in a timely and effective way,” he said.

The member-states want ECO to focus on projects and programmes, which bring about maximum economic benefits to members and the region as a whole, said Zarif.

At the outset of his speech, the Iranian foreign minister paid tribute to the people and the government of Pakistan for hosting the 22nd ECO Council of Ministers meeting.

He added in the 21st COM Meeting in November 2013, and in the “Tehran Communiqué”, the Ministers clearly indicated that continued regional cooperation within ECO framework would require, first and foremost, enhanced institutional and operational capacities in the Organization, enabling it to respond in a timely and effective manner to the needs and aspirations of the Member States.

The minister added the ECO member states, assisted by the Secretariat, have charted the “Vision 2025” which lays out the ECO goals and programmes in the coming decade.

“The “Vision”, along with its associated plans for action, is expected to drive us towards further regional integration and cohesion. If it happens, ECO will celebrate an important milestone in its three-decade history of evolution,” he viewed.

“I firmly believe that ECO should invest more time and energy to carefully devise Vision’s implementation frameworks and mechanisms, and to ensure conducive policy environment for its realization,” viewed Zarif.

He strongly believed that no success in the ECO can be envisaged unless all Member States are actively involved.

“We need to have all Member States on broad; while ECO in return needs to prove that it works for the whole membership,” he viewed.

The Iranian top diplomat went on to say that there has been a clear request by Member States that ECO should now focus on projects and programmes which bring about maximum economic benefits to the Member States and the Region as a whole.

“ECO needs to prove its added value for each and every single Member State, enhancing the sense of ownership among them. Conversely, we, the Member States, should lend our full support to the Organization and its activities,” said Zarif.

The foreign minister assured the meeting that Iran is committed to continue its unwavering support for the ECO. “We believe that the Economic Cooperation Organization is by far the best option for cooperation among the countries of the region,” he viewed.

He said, ‘We can ensure a more stable, peaceful and resilient community of countries through ECO’s cooperation and integration schemes, uplifting also our capacities to respond individually and collectively to the challenges and vulnerabilities.

“Let me conclude by assuring the new ECO chairmanship, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, of the full support of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he noted.