September 25, 2018: Pakistan has told the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) that the brotherly relations among its member states could be further strengthened with regional connectivity projects.
Referring to the last ECO Summit held in Islamabad in 2017 with the theme of “Connectivity for Regional Prosperity”, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi underscored Pakistan's priority for energy connectivity.
As some countries in the ECO region were energy deficient while others were energy surplus, there was thus a greater need to initiate energy projects. He also referred to projects such as CASA-1000 and TAPI in which Pakistan was already participating.
The foreign minister also stated that in order to supplement transit agreements, Pakistan was upgrading its rail and infrastructure to facilitate smooth flow of goods with its neighbours. He further said that the Istanbul-Tehran-Istanbul corridor and the Pakistan-Iran-Turkmenistan rail link were being made functional.
The foreign minister supported revisiting the ECO trade agreement, which was aimed at promoting trade liberalisation within the ECO region to boost trade. He also supported strengthening ECO Transit Trade Framework Agreement, which would enable the region to function as a bridge between the North and the South, Europe and Asia.
Qureshi cited the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a “great example” of connectivity while speaking at the 25th Informal ministerial-level meeting of the Tehran-based 10-member body, held on the sideline of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly.
The ECO members are: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.