Ter­ror­ism un­der­mines ECO states’ eco­nomic progress: FM

The Pak Banker - - Company & Boss News -

IS­TAN­BUL: For­eign Min­is­ter Makhdoom Shah Mah­mood Qureshi said on Wed­nes­day that ter­ror­ism, drug-traf­fick­ing, trans-na­tional or­ga­nized crime and nat­u­ral dis­as­ters were un­der­min­ing ef­forts for eco­nomic progress and pros­per­ity of the peo­ple.

"This calls for in­no­va­tive ap­proaches and fo­cused at­ten­tion on so­cio-eco­nomic devel­op­ment of the re­gion," he said while speak­ing at the 19th Coun­cil of Min­is­ters meet­ing here ahead of the 11th ECO head of states sum­mit meet­ing.

He said that global peace, sta­bil­ity and pros­per­ity were in­di­vis­i­ble, adding, "the global ef­fects of eco­nomic and fi­nan­cial turmoil are not far be­hind us." He stressed on the need for de­vis­ing mech­a­nisms to ef­fec­tively re­spond to con­tem­po­rary chal­lenges with en­thu­si­asm and ded­i­ca­tion.

There is a plethora of chal- lenges threat­en­ing the re­gion, he said. The For­eign Min­is­ter said that one of the fun­da­men­tal ob­jec­tives of the ECO was to en­sure lib­er­al­iza­tion of trade through low­er­ing trade bar­ri­ers.

The ECO Trade Agree­ment (ECOTA), there­fore, re­mains at the heart of ECO's am­bi­tions to es­tab­lish within the re­gion, a free trade area by 2015, he added.

He said that the agree­ment had the po­ten­tial to cre­ate vast op­por­tu­ni­ties for the eco­nomic up­lift of the peo­ples and to­gether with the Tran­sit Trans­port Frame­work Agree­ment (TTFA), it could prove to be the en­gine of growth in the re­gion.

For­eign Min­is­ter Qureshi said that Pak­istan and Turkey have agreed to im­ple­ment ECOTA bi­lat­er­ally and Afghanistan too has con­veyed the pos­i­tive, neg­a­tive and sen- sitive lists in the con­text of ECOTA.

He hoped that the other sig­na­to­ries would also pro­vide the nec­es­sary lists at early date so that this im­por­tant agree­ment is im­ple­mented in the near fu­ture. At the same time, he added, Pak­istan strongly urges the non-sig­na­to­ries to join this Agree­ment.

He said the devel­op­ment of an ef­fi­cient and mod­ern trans­porta­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion net­work among the ECO mem­ber states is an im­por­tant fac­tor in the ex­pan­sion of trade and so­cio-eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion.

He said, "Pak­istan wel­comes the com­mence­ment of the ECO Is­lam­abad-TehranIs­tan­bul Con­tainer Train which had its inaugural run in Au­gust last year." He said the re­cent launch of the ECO Silk Road Truck Car­a­van is a very im­por­tant mile­stone achieved by the Or­ga­ni­za­tion, adding, this link­age would not only help boost trade, but also serve as an ef­fec­tive ve­hi­cle to in­crease peo­ple-to-peo­ple con­tacts and pro­mote tourism among the mem­ber coun­tries.

He expressed the hope that this Car­a­van, like the ECO Con­tainer Train, would be able to start its reg­u­lar run in the near fu­ture. Qureshi told the meet­ing that the ex­is­tence of trade, tran­sit and trans­port cor­ri­dors across the re­gion will guar­an­tee eco­nomic devel­op­ment and the pros­per­ity of our peo­ple.

He said that the ECO Trade and Devel­op­ment Bank has started its op­er­a­tions and a Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Of­fice has been opened in Pak­istan. It will play a cru­cial role in pro­vid­ing the nec­es­sary fi­nan­cial se­cu­rity to the busi­ness com­mu­nity of the ECO re­gion, he added. -PB News

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