Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct 17 /Trend/
Ellada Khankishiyeva, Trend Analytical Centre Head
Azerbaijan is in the center of the world attention, becoming a regional leader, due to rapid development in politics and economic development. Further evidence of this is XII Summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), which was held in Baku on October 16.
Bringing together ten countries of Central Asia and the Middle East, the summit reaffirmed the solidarity of the member states in the development of cooperation in the interest of the overall sustainable development, their commitment to economic reforms and the resolution of political conflicts in the region. There was no doubt in the success of the summit, as it brings together the countries, united by a common history, cultural values, economic and political interests.
This time, the chairmanship of ECO has moved from Turkey to Azerbaijan, which will do everything for the development of institutional initiatives, and the countries can rely on mutual trust and support. Political successes of Azerbaijan due to the election as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, the rapid economic development, the implementation of important infrastructure projects for the region will play a significant role in the development of the organization. Azerbaijan is a shareholder of ECO Bank and intends to take an active part in the necessary infrastructure and economic projects in the member countries of the organization. Thus, in next two years, Azerbaijan as ECO Chairman will make every effort to promote the goals and objectives of the organization.
For 20 years, ECO participants were able to pass the transition period, get up, get stronger, but there are still many unresolved issues, the resolution of which will allow to use the organization's potential more efficient for the benefit of people and countries. The development of transport and energy infrastructure, the efficient use of water and energy of natural resources, the creation of free trade zones, providing conditions for the free movement of people, vehicles and goods were marked as the priority objectives of ECO.
The member countries have put forward a number of initiatives, including the creation of a free trade area by 2015, which will increase trade between ECO countries by 8 times, creation of mutual food aid system in the form of Regional Fund by type of FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization), aimed at quick response, timely assistance and increase of the financial instruments in the event of a sharp change in food prices in a country and the deterioration of its population's life. Iran proposed to create the ECO political forum to coordinate actions in the international arena, to assist Member States in the settlement of disputes, as well as to protect the rights and interests of ECO countries in international organizations and make joint efforts to reform international institutions, including the United Nations.
Terrorism, poverty, illiteracy, violation of fundamental rights of the people and the drug trade were called as the main dangers for the region. Calls for assistance and economic reconstruction of Afghanistan, the situation in which has an impact on the socio-economic stability and sustainable development of the region as a whole, were voiced.
In the end, all ECO member countries agreed that only a business, healthy, critical approach to activities can transform the organization into an effective lever of regional trade and economic relations. Joint political efforts will make the states more powerful, and the economic potential of the Member States, expressed in work on specific projects, will strengthen the organization and ECO's initiatives in various fields.
Therefore, ECO must move forward if it wants to remain competitive in the regional and international levels, and to play a role in the world.
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