(2018-09-25) Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi attended the 25th Informal Meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Economic Cooperation Organization today, held on the sidelines of the seventy-third session of the UNGA.
The Foreign Minister, while recognizing the importance of the ECO platform, said Pakistan enjoys fraternal and brotherly relations with ECO member countries. These relations can be further strengthened with regional connectivity projects. In this regard the Minister highlighted CPEC as a great example of connectivity.
The Foreign Minister, referring to the last 13th ECO Summit held in Islamabad in 2017 with the theme of “Connectivity for Regional Prosperity” underscored Pakistan’s priority for energy connectivity. He referred to the fact that 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.
In order to strengthen trade ties, the Foreign Minister supported revisiting the ECO trade agreement, which was aimed at promoting trade liberalization within the ECO region. 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.
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 neighbors. He further added that the Istanbul-Tehran-Istanbul corridor and the Pakistan-Iran-Turkmenistan rail link were being made functional.
Foreign Minister Qureshi informed the meeting that out of Pakistan’s pledge of US$ 5 million to the ECO fund for the reconstruction of Afghanistan, an amount of US$ 2 million had already been paid to the ECO.
25 September 2018