Turkey hosts the 24th Meeting of the ECO Council of Ministers (COM)
The 24th Meeting of the ECO Council of Ministers (COM) was held in the Antalya city of the Republic of Turkey on 9 November 2019. The Council of Ministers (COM) is the highest policy and decision-making body of ECO and is responsible for formulating and approval of policies, strategies, work, annual budgets, audit reports, fiscal and administrative regulations, organizational charts, etc. The 24th Council of Ministers’ Meeting was preceded by the Senior Officials’ Meeting held on 8 November 2019.
During the inaugural session of the 24th Meeting of the COM, the First Deputy Minister of Republic of Tajikistan (outgoing Chairman of the COM), H.E. Mr. Khusrav Noziri, welcomed the delegates and felicitated the Republic of Turkey to assume the COM’s Chairmanship. He highlighted some of the significant developments made during Tajikistan’s Chairmanship of the ECO to implement the organization’s overall objectives in consonance with ECO Vision 2025, the emerging regional and global targets as well as other international developmental goals. Later on, H.E. Mr. Mevlut Cavusoglu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey was unanimously elected as new Chairman of ECO Council of Ministers. He extended his gratitude to the Council of Ministers for reposing confidence in him.
H.E. Mr. Mevlut Cavusoglu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, while acknowledging activities of the ECO and its contribution towards regional development, assured Turkey’s consistent support to ECO and country’s proactive role to realize and execute the organization’s agenda for implementation of the ECO Vision 2025 in close coordination and cooperation of the Member States. He hoped that the ECO Projects would bring enhanced trade, regional integration through transport corridors, energy, tourism and cultural activities. Minister Çavuşoğlu emphasized that with 8 million square kilometers land area and nearly half a billion population ECO is an important regional platform and that we would work together to make ECO a more effective organization.
Earlier in his speech, H.E. Dr. Hadi Soleimanpour, the ECO Secretary General briefed the Meeting about the activities and developments including, the approach adopted for evolving the organization to be more project-oriented, measures taken for the implementation of ECO Vision 2025, fuelling the spirit of ownership, partnership and commitment to mutual obligations through organizational reform as well as steps taken to achieve the perceived aims and objectives of the organization in the areas of trade, transit-transport, energy and tourism. He expressed his profound gratitude to the Government of the Republic of Turkey for hosting the 24th Meeting of Council of Ministers and expressed optimism over Turkey’s leadership to certainly facilitate and contribute to further flourishing the Organization as well as bringing prosperity and development in the entire ECO region. The ECO Secretary General also acknowledged the contribution of Tajikistan, underlining some significant achievements made during their ECO’s chairmanship with the patronage of H.E. Mr. Emamgoli Rahmon, the honourable President of the Republic of Tajikistan.
During the working session, the Council commended the ECO Secretary General for his comprehensive report on organization's activities made in the post 23rd COM period. The Council appreciated the report on implementation progress on ECO Vision 2025 and encouraged the Member States to coordinate and extend full support to the Secretariat for ensuring the implementation of the Vision. The Council acknowledged the importance of steps taken under reform process aimed at increasing the sense of ownership among all Member States and enhancement of efficiency of the organization. The Council considered and approved the Secretariat’s report/proposal on the ECO Scale of Assessments for the years 2020-2025. The Council further approved the initiative of the Secretariat for priority projects developed through the Sectoral Meetings to meet the objectives of ECO Vision 2025 and make the organization more project-oriented. It also considered the Annual Reports of the ECO Specialized Agencies/Regional Institutions/Affiliated Bodies and encouraged them for acceleration of their activities to secure the intended aims and objectives in line with ECO Vision 2025. Moreover, the Council unanimously adopted the Antalya Communiqué aimed at integrated approach for trade growth, enhanced connectivity and socio-economic development in the region.
The Ministers/Heads of delegation of the Member States also reaffirmed their commitments to the broader cause of regional cooperation and emphasized on the need for close cooperation among ECO Member States for overall development in the region.
The meeting was attended by the Foreign Minister of Republic of Azerbaijan, H.E. Mr. Elmar Mammadyarov, the Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran, H.E. Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Foreign Minister of Republic of Turkey (host), H.E. Mr. Mevlut Cavusoglu, Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Tajikistan, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Uzbekistan, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Kazakhstan, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kyrgyz Republic, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan and the Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Cooperation of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Secretary General of the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States also participated in the Meeting as Observers. The Heads/Representatives of ECO Specialized Agencies, Regional Institutions, and Affiliated Bodies as well as the ECO Secretariat’s delegation headed by Secretary General, H.E. Dr. Hadi Soleimanpour also attended the Meeting.
The Meeting concluded with a vote of thanks to H.E. Mr. Mevlut Cavusoglu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey and Chairman of the 24rd COM for conducting the deliberations in an efficient manner. The Council also acknowledged the efforts of the ECO Secretary General and his team for their valuable contributions for successful holding of the 24th Meeting of the ECO Council of Ministers.