21st Meeting of Council of Ministers of Economic Cooperation Organization held in Tehran

The 21st meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) was held in Tehran on November 26th.
Azerbaijani Minister of Foreign Affairs Elmar Mammadyarov noted in his opening remarks that the Presidency of the ECO Council of Ministers was passed to Iran from Azerbaijan.
The Azerbaijani FM spoke of the ECO’s recent achievements saying: “We are very pleased to observe that regional integration efforts are deepening in terms of increased trade and investment flows, commercial ties as well as intra-regional transport infrastructure development. These are promising signs, but we need to further build on them and explore other mutual economic opportunities.”
The Minister said: “The Regional infrastructure development should remain as a priority on our cooperation agenda. In particular, ECO should aim at the modernization of railway routes and related infrastructure as well as creation of common railway network and its interconnection with European and Middle East networks. The early completion of the ongoing railway projects of regional importance, including Qazvin-Rasht-Astara (Iran) – Astara (Azerbaijan) will create new attractive transit opportunities for countries of the region. In this regard, we welcome the conduct of second High-level Working Group on this project that was held recently and hope that those meetings will serve as a useful platform for generating effective outcomes. We thank ECO Secretariat for its efforts and support in realization of this project.”
He noted Azerbaijan supports the process of reforms in the ECO to transform the Organization into an effective and efficient body and gave information on the country’s recent achievements.
The Minister said: “We remain confident that finding creative ways and means to improve the existing mechanism of multilateral cooperation within the ECO would eventually speed up the integration processes. This will also improve the current performance of our Organization. We should start with the review of core activities through the prism of impact assessment.”
Mr Mammadyarov noted security and stability of every Member State is inseparably linked to the security of other Member States. He added without resolution of protracted conflicts as well as ensuring security and stability in the region, ECO will fail to fully reap the benefits of comprehensive regional cooperation.
The Minister said: “Within ECO the South Caucasus is yet another region suffering from protracted conflicts. Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict still remains a major source of instability and impediment to the economic development and full-scale regional cooperation. With restoration of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of the internationally recognized borders of the Republic of Azerbaijan I believe there will be win-win developments to every player in the region.”
Addressing the meeting, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani highlighted what benefits the expansion of ECO`s activities can bring to the member states.
The report of the ECO Council of Ministers and the Tehran communiqué were adopted at the event.
The communiqué featured the establishment of the Economic Research Center of the ECO and approval of its Regulations.


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