The president on Thursday delivered a speech to the 14th summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization, held via videoconference.
In his address to the summit, held to discuss “regional economic cooperation in the aftermath of COVID-19”, Rouhani hailed ECO as a successful model of regional convergence.
He also called for efforts to find new ways to broaden intra-organizational trade exchanges among the ECO members.
Calling for plans to carry out ECO goals and accelerate the implementation of its trade agreements, President Rouhani proposed the idea of activating and supporting ECO subsidiary organizations, such as the ECO bank, insurance, standards, and chamber of commerce.
Rouhani further emphasized the necessity of removing the obstacles to cooperation among the ECO states in the transportation industry.
ECO enjoys invaluable potential in terms of human and natural resources, energy reserves, complementary economies, interested private sectors, and incomparable regionally and globally transit and transport advantages, he underlined.
There have been major steps towards the enhancement of economic cooperation within ECO and precious achievements have been made, Rouhani said, adding that however, in certain areas such as trade, the achievements have not met expectations.
Despite the high trade potential and the necessary infrastructure in place, intra-regional trade remains as low as less than 10 percent– totally unacceptable. This has also been addressed in the ECO Vision 2025, he added.
Rouhani said that we are of the view that we need to concentrate on the operationalization of the ECO agreed on programs and decisions with a view to accelerating the pace towards realization of the goals and objectives of the Organization.
Implementation of ECO trade agreement, as well as working out ways and means to expand intra-regional trade, further activation of private sectors for the sake of trade boost, strengthening and activation of the existing and new ECO agencies such as ECO Trade and Development Bank, ECO Reinsurance Company are measures to be needed to this end, he noted.
ECO Regional Institute for Standardization (RISCAM), and ECO Chamber of Commerce, as well as removing the obstacles and challenges encountering transit and transport cooperation as the fundamental infrastructure for trade expansion are some other steps to be taken, he further noted.
The Islamic Republic of Iran remains ready to actively contribute to the operationalization of the ECO Trade Agreement (ECOTA) and creating the necessary financial, banking, and customs arrangements while having on board all ECO Member States, he pointed out.
Given our geographical location, we are prepared to share our transport network as well as infrastructures and facilities along the Persian Gulf and Oman Sea with ECO Members, particularly the landlocked countries, bridging them with international waters and markets, he added.
The international community is now experiencing formidable challenges which have affected all facets of human life. The COVID-19 has deeply and destructively affected the economic and welfare conditions of the countries in the world, he stated.
No country can afford to tackle such challenges single-handedly. Rather, it requires collective will along with joint cooperation. Accordingly, we consider very timely and promising for ECO Region the theme of this Summit, namely “Regional Cooperation in the PostCOVID Era”, he added.
In the time of the pandemic, the international community has disappointedly failed to act against unilateral measures and unlawful sanctions dragged into the realm of the fight against the disease, targeting the countries’ capabilities in their struggle against this global plague, Rouhani said.
The great powers’ depriving other nations of fundamental rights, as well as their disrespect for international organizations, necessitate a response from the like-minded countries including through strengthening cooperation and creating a united front against these challenges, he underlined.
Meanwhile, Turkey urged for the trade deal between member countries of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) to be put into action as soon as possible.
Addressing ECO’s virtual 14th Leaders Summit, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also called for the members to develop their ties with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and urged for the lifting of U.S. sanctions on Iran.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan opened the summit in his capacity as the chair of the 13th summit, held in Islamabad in March 2017.
President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan chairs the 14th summit.
Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey are the founding members of ECO, established in 1985. Afghanistan, the Republic of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan joined the organization later.
- source : IRAN NEWS