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March 16, 2019

‘Pakistan can help ECO achieve accelerated progress’


March 16, 2019

Islamabad : Dr Hadi Soleimanpour, Secretary-General, Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO), has said that Pakistan can help the ECO achieve accelerated progress and help it achieve its goals and objectives.

Dr Soleimanpour was speaking here at a Round-table Discussion organised by Institute of Strategic Studies. Dr Soleimanpour said that Transit Transport Framework Agreement was ratified by only nine members and needs to be in place and properly implemented. With regard to the energy sector, he said that the ECO is in the process of establishing joint ventures with some of the EU countries, Chinese banks and Asian financial institutions. Work on clean energy projects is also underway. He said that both the ECOTA and TTFA should be implemented in letter and spirit. He said that a balanced approach is necessary to understand the constraints of each member state and find solutions in a mutually acceptable manner.

Earlier, in his welcome remarks, Director General ISS Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry highlighted how globalisation is spurring many responses one of which is regionalism. He said that in order to lead the process of regional development, economic organisations can play the role of a catalyst and locomotive. For several decades, the South Asian region has been unsuccessfully attempting integration. In this regard, it is necessary to take stock of what has been achieved so far in tangible terms.

In the question hour, a participant suggested that ECO scholarships should be introduced. A gap identified was the lack of people-to-people contact in all spheres. There is also a need to establish a source of mechanism of banking facilitation between ECO members. A framework also needs to be designed so that ports such as Gwadar and Chabahar work together in a complimentary way and not work in competition with each other. It was also pointed out that it is important to link think tanks and define research ports to get fresh perspectives.

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