PM Khan virtually addresses the 14th ECO summit

By Staff Reporter
Friday – March 5, 2021
ISLAMABAD: The prime minister (PM) Imran Khan, Thursday, highlighted the regional, global health and economic consequences of Covid-19 (coronavirus); elaborated Pakistan’s ‘people and poor-centric approach’ to tackle the pandemic and highlighted his five-point plan to provide fiscal space to developing countries to deal with the adverse socio-economic impacts of the pandemic.

According to a press release, the PM represented Pakistan in the 14th economic cooperation organisation (ECO) summit, held virtually; the theme of the summit was “Regional Economic Cooperation in the Aftermath of Covid-19”; the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan chaired the 14th summit.

The PM stressed the importance of stemming the disturbing trends of religious discrimination and Islamophobia in different parts of the world.

PM Khan underscored that Covid-19 lockdowns had enabled the suppression of peoples in occupied territories struggling for their right to self-determination.

He underscored the importance of rejecting any attempt to link Islam with terrorism and opposing the use of ‘freedom of expression’ to cause pain to Muslims by denigrating the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Highlighting the need for close collaboration for enhanced connectivity, trade linkages and energy flows within the ECO region, PM Khan recalled the ECO vision 2025 adopted during the 13th ECO summit in the federal capital in March 2017.

He proposed a mid-term review of progress of its implementation and expansion of requisite cooperation.

PM Khan underscored the importance of dialogue between ECO and other regional and international organisations to advance mutually beneficial collaboration.

He underlined the importance of peace and stability in Afghanistan for success of physical integration in the ECO region.

PM Khan also welcomed the ECO rail connectivity projects such as Istanbul-Tehran-Islamabad (ITI) commercial cargo train and stressed timely completion of cross-border energy projects such as Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India (TAPI) gas pipeline and Central Asia-South Asia (CASA) 1,000 electricity grid.

He underscored, “The vision of the ECO’s regional economic integration is an essential component of a strategy to transform the tensions of geo-politics into the dividends of geo-economics.”

PM Khan made 6 specific proposals for enhanced regional economic cooperation in the aftermath of Covid-19: mobilisation of national and international resources to recover from Covid-19 pandemic, as per his five-point plan;

Building of resilient health care systems to respond to such crisis in future;

Development of integrated transport network to facilitate both intra-ECO trade and to serve as pathway for trade with other global economies;

Establishment of ECO investment agency along with organisation of annual ECO investment fair;

Pursuit of trade promotion measures such as simplification of border procedures, establishment of intra-regional institutional linkages, reinforcement of existing regional mechanisms and implementation of ECO trade agreement (ECOTA);

Promotion of knowledge-based economies, increased expenditures on research and development, and focus on rapid digitalisation especially extension of broadband to all parts of ECO countries.

It was decided that the 15th summit of ECO will be held in Ashgabat of Turkmenistan, on ECO day, November 28, 2021.