Zarif hopes southern neighbors would join ECO

November 9, 2019

TEHRAN – Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who had participated at the Economic Cooperation Organization’s foreign ministerial meeting in Turkey’s Mediterranean resort city of Antalya on Saturday, said in a post on his Twitter page that Iran prioritizes cooperation with neighbors.

ECO includes Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. 

“In keeping with Iran’s foreign policy that posits our neighbors should always come first, regional cooperation remains a priority,” Zarif wrote.

Zarif expressed hope that Iran’s southern neighbors, which include countries lying on the southern shores of the Persian Gulf, would also join the economic bloc.

“We hope this cooperation can be welcomed by neighbors to our south, too.”

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu chaired the 24th ECO meeting on Saturday. 

According to Anadolu Agency, at the opening speech, Cavusoglu said Turkey will develop a new initiative in Asia during its presidency, and increase the dynamism in Asia by working in many areas such as education, trade, technology, culture, cultural and political dialogue.

The meeting will conclude on Sunday.

"As a founding member and the chair of the organization, we will continue in an effective manner activity of the ECO which aims at increasing cooperation and well-being in our region," a statement by the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

Stressing that the trade volume in the ECO region is around $100 billion, Cavusoglu said it is necessary for Turkey to be willing to achieve more goals.

Cavusoglu added that intra-regional trade, energy efficiency, as well as tourism should be promoted.

On the sidelines of the meeting, Cavusoglu also met with Zarif.

The council of ministers is the highest policy and decision-making body of ECO that meets in regular, informal or extraordinary sessions.

Established as Regional Cooperation for Development in 1964 by Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey, the organization was renamed as ECO in 1985, according to its website.


PA/PA

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