Zarif: Need to Restructure ECO

Zarif: Need to Restructure ECOZarif: Need to Restructure ECO

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif highlighted the need for restructuring the Economic Cooperation Organization to realize its objectives.

Addressing a conference of ECO foreign ministers in Islamabad on Tuesday, Zarif touched on a roadmap developed by member states that lays out ECO’s goals and programs in the coming decade, known as the ECO 2025 Perspective Plan or what he called the “vision”.

“The vision, along with its associated plans for action, is expected to drive us toward further regional integration and cohesion. If it happens, ECO will celebrate an important milestone in its three-decade history of evolution,” according to a transcript of Zarif’s remarks carried by Tasnim News Agency.

“Ensuring that the vision and other such frameworks will deliver their expected output, in a timely and effective way, requires a new regional economic architecture for cooperation and integration within ECO.”

Zarif noted that ECO should invest more time and energy to carefully devise the vision’s implementation frameworks and mechanisms, and to ensure a policy environment conducive for its realization.                  

He reaffirmed Iran's "unwavering" support for the organization, describing it as the "best" platform for promoting relations between regional countries.

"We believe that Economic Cooperation Organization is by far the best option for cooperation among the countries of the region. We firmly believe ECO-sponsored regionalism not only improves prospects for individual and collective economic development, but enhances political and security relations among member states," he said.

The Tuesday event saw Zarif handing over the rotating chairmanship of the body's ministerial council for the next four-year period to his Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz.

"Let me conclude by assuring the new ECO chairmanship, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, of the full support of the Islamic Republic of Iran. We will also continue our advocacy policy toward the secretary-general and the ECO Secretariat to accomplish their critical role in initiating, implementing and monitoring activities within the organization," Zarif said.

Today, President Hassan Rouhani is attending the 13th ECO Summit in the Pakistani capital.

ECO, which has its headquarters in Tehran, comprises Pakistan, Turkey, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan as well as the Islamic Republic itself.

The main purpose of the organization, which was set up in 1985, is to promote economic, technical and cultural cooperation among member states.

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