Pakistan will host a multi-nation regional economic summit on March 1 aimed at increasing cooperation in areas such as trade, energy, tourism and economic growth, the country’s top diplomat said today.
“Pakistan is hosting the 13th Economic Cooperation Organisation Summit in Islamabad on March 1. The Summit will be preceded by the Senior Official’s Meeting on 26-27 February and Council of Foreign Minister’s Meeting on 28 February,” PM’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz told reporters.
Most member states have confirmed their participation in the Summit whose theme is ‘Connectivity for Regional Prosperity’, he said.
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The leaders would deliberate and decide on ways and means to augment cooperation in the areas of connectivity, trade, energy, tourism, investment, industry, economic growth, productivity, social welfare and environment, he said.
Initiatives for furtherance of education and scientific linkages, cultural and people-to-people contacts within the ECO would also be deliberated upon during the Summit, he said.
The Summit would end with a declaration which would focus on the Summit theme of Connectivity as a dynamic concept that encompasses multiple dimensions including transit transport such as rail, road, ports and shipping and cyber linkages.
“The Summit would act as a catalyst to integrate these initiatives into a comprehensive connectivity apparatus of the ECO,” said Aziz.
It is for the first time that Pakistan is hosting the ECO summit since it last hosted the 3rd ECO Summit at Islamabad in May 1995.
ECO was established in 1985 by Iran, Turkey and Pakistan. It succeeded Regional Cooperation for Development, which was founded in 1964 to promote cooperation among the three states.
In 1992, the Organisation welcomed in its fold seven new Members, including Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Afghanistan.
The ECO aims at promoting sustainable economic development of member states through trade and economic cooperation as well as mutual assistance in social, cultural, technical and scientific fields.
The Headquarters of ECO are located in Tehran.
Ambassador Halil Ibrahim Akca from Turkey is the current Secretary General of ECO. The 12th and last Summit was held in Azerbaijan in 2012.