Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan
Most recently the 13th The Economic Cooperation Organization was held in Islamabad. The theme of this summit was “Connectivity for Regional Prosperity”. The Summit’s theme, “Connectivity for Regional Prosperity” represented a collective vision to build ECO into a community of shared prosperity through greater economic integration and close people-to-people contact.
The Summit deliberated and decided on ways and means to augment cooperation in the areas of connectivity, trade, energy, tourism, investments, industry, economic growth, productivity, social welfare and environment. The Islamabad Declaration focused on achieving greater regional connectivity as dynamic concept through transit transport such as rail, roads and shipping and cyber linkages. It reflected the joint aspirations of the people of the region.
The Islamabad Declaration underscored the three core principles of ECO Vision 2025, i.e. sustainability, integration and conducive environment; and emphasized the need to augment cooperation in the areas of trade, transport and connectivity, energy, tourism, economic growth and productivity and social-welfare and environment as identified in Vision 2025.
The member states expressed concern about the existing unresolved conflicts in the ECO region, including Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, which hinder the economic growth and realization of the full economic potential of the region and impede the development of economic cooperation on regional as well as broader level.
ECO member states stressed the importance of making increased efforts for the earliest resolution of these conflicts based on the norms and principles of international law, in particular the principles of respect to sovereignty and territorial integrity.
H.E. Ilham Aliyev the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan graced this summit and delivered a keynote speech. H.E. Ilham Aliyev’s message and speech proved catalyst to integrate basic concept of this summit i.e. “Connectivity for Regional Prosperity”. The President suggested many doable measures for the further strengthening of regional connectivity, trade, investments, energy cooperation and tourism within the framework of the ECO.
Addressing the Summit, Azerbaijan President H.E. Ilham Aliyev laid special emphasis on mutual cooperation among the ECO countries in the field of infrastructure, connectivity, and transportation for the development and the progress of the region.
He also condemned the growing Islmophobia and made it clear that Islam is a religion of peace and it should not be linked with terrorism. President H.E. Ilham Aliyev thanked Pakistan for its support on the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh.
The Azerbaijani President’s visit to Pakistan and the meetings with President and Prime Minister of Pakistan were of great importance which also played a vital role in the development of bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and Pakistan.
On the sidelines of 13th ECO Summit a meeting was held between Prime Minister of Pakistan Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and H.E. Mr. Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan at the Prime Minister House.
The Prime Minister warmly welcomed President Ilham Aliyev to the 13th ECO Summit and reviewed the decision taken during the Prime Minister’s visit to Baku and expressed satisfaction at the progress of implementation of those decisions.
The both countries agreed to increase efforts to attain the optimum level of economic cooperation and agreed that the two countries should set the goal of concluding agreements of Preferential Tariff and Trade, investment, energy and other areas of economic cooperation.
The leaders underscored that Islamabad Declaration and ECO Vision 2025 are important documents and would offer a roadmap for the success of the organization and common prosperity of the entire region.
The two sides noted that the trade figures do not reflect the potential that exists between the two States in terms of economic cooperation and decided to create more opportunities for increase in trade and economic activities. They expressed the hope that economic relations between the two countries would grow in the near future.
The Prime Minister and the President agreed to mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, falling during 2017, as year of friendly exchanges.
The Prime Minister appreciated Azerbaijan’s continued support on the Jammu & Kashmir dispute and Azerbaijan’s invaluable role in the OIC Contact Group on Jammu & Kashmir. The Prime Minister reiterated Pakistan’s principle position on Azerbaijan’s stand on Nagorno’ Karabakh issue.
The President of Azerbaijan expressed his pleasure on attending the ECO Summit and tanked the Prime Minister for the generous hospitality accorded to him and his delegation. The President of Azerbaijan thanked the Prime Minister for Pakistan’s continued support on the Nagorno’ Karabakh region. President Ilham Aliyev expressed concern over the escalation of human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir and reiterated Azerbaijan’s support for the exercise of the right to self determination for people of Jammu & Kashmir.
The Two sides signed the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) between the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on cooperation in the field of energy.
President Mamnoon Hussain and President of the Republic of Azerbaijan H.E. Ilham Aliyev agreed to expand cooperation between the two countries in the fields of trade, education, science and technology and defense.
The two leaders also agreed to continue to extend support to each other on issues of Nagorno-Karabakh and Jammu and Kashmir respectively.
Speaking on the occasion, President Ilham Aliyev underlined the need to impress upon the world that Islam is a religion of peace.
He called for initiating joint ventures in the fields of textile, agricultural and appliances. President Aliyev said that his country will hold Islamic solidarity sports this year.
President Mamnoon Hussain said that Pakistan and Azerbaijan will continue to work together for regional peace, progress and prosperity.
President Mamnoon Hussain stressed upon the need to further enhance the volume of bilateral trade. He stated that Azeri investors have an excellent opportunity to benefit from Pakistan’s liberal investment policy and its big market.
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said that Pakistan was his second home and his country is keen to expand cooperation with Pakistan in various sectors.
He stated that Azerbaijan and Pakistan will work together for regional progress and development. President Aliyev said that both countries share similar views on regional and international issues.
The Azeri delegation included Minister for Foreign Affairs Elmar Mammadyarov, Advisor to President on Foreign Affairs Navruz Mammadov, Minister for Economy Shahin Mustafayev, Minister for Energy Natig Aliyev and Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Pakistan Ali Fikrat Oglu Alizada.