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Speech of Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu at the 22th Council of Ministers of ECO held in Islamabad, 28 February 2017

Mr. Chairman,

Distinguished Colleagues,

It is always a pleasure to visit Islamabad. This time, we are here for the ECO Summit with the participation of our leaders and colleagues from the entire ECO region.

The 13th ECO Summit is held at a crucial time. Current political and economic challenges force us to reconsider the role of ECO.

The ECO has a huge potential to become an important regional player. However, we need to redouble our efforts to use this potential.

First of all, we need to put into force our trade agreement, ECOTA, to enhance intra-regional trade.

With this understanding, I call upon all the member states to complete the necessary requirements for joining ECOTA.

ECOBANK is an important body to finance trade through projects. We need to enhance the institutional and financing capacity of ECOBANK to meet the growing needs of the region.

Integration of regional transport systems and effective use of transit corridors is another important item on our agenda.

This is also in line with the theme of our Summit, "Connectivity for Regional Prosperity." Effective implementation of the Transit Transport Framework Agreement (TTFA) and completion of the outstanding projects, such as Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul Road Corridor, should be our priorities.

Energy is another key field on which we must focus. Our region is rich in energy resources. Turkey is ready to transfer them to international markets.

A functioning agricultural sector is essential to ensure food security. The ECO Regional Coordination Center (ECO-RCC) has an important role to play here.

Environment is another field where we all have a common stake in deepening our cooperation. We have to share our good practices to create new ground for joint projects in this area.

Finally, we should also focus on tourism. Our countries have natural beauty, rich history and diverse cultural heritage. We can utilize them. As a leading country in the field of tourism, we are ready to share our experiences with our fellow ECO members.

Dear Colleagues,

We consider the adoption of the ECO Vision Document 2025 to be imperative.

This vision document will be a sign of our commitment to continue cooperation in various fields. With the establishment of the ECO Vision Implementation Fund, we will be able to finance programs and projects defined in this document.

We fully support the recommendations of the Eminent Persons Group (EPG). We also believe that an inclusive and efficiency-oriented Reform Process will carry the Organization a step further.

On the other hand, no meaningful reform process can be achieved without a strong budget.

Unfortunately, current budgetary problems prevent us from transforming ECO into a more efficient organization.

We believe that all member countries should fulfill their responsibility in terms of burden-sharing. This is also important for strengthening the ownership of our Organization.

Since our resources are limited, our efforts in ECO should be more focused, realistic and efficient. We should define and concentrate on priority areas such as trade and investment, transport and energy corridors.

We hope that tomorrow’s Summit will provide a new momentum to our cooperation in the ECO region. Thank you.