Today, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov took part in the XIV Summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), held by direct videoconferencing chaired by President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
According to the State News Agency of Turkmenistan, the summit was also attended by President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan - Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan - Ilham Aliyev, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran - Hassan Rouhani, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan - Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of the Kyrgyz Republic - Sadyr Japarov, President of the Republic of Tajikistan - Emomali Rahmon, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan - Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan - Imran Khan and ECO Secretary General - Dr. Hadi Soleimanpour.
The Secretary General of the Turkic Council - Baghdad Amreyev, the Secretary General of the Energy Charter - Urban Rusnak and others were also invited to participate in the summit.
Taking into account the current situation in the world, the agenda of the current summit is focused on the development of regional economic partnership in the period after the COVID-19 pandemic.
As already reported, during the summit, the period of chairmanship in the ECO passed to Turkmenistan. In this regard, a corresponding Concept was developed, aimed at promoting the process of sustainable economic growth and development in the region, which clearly indicates a comprehensively thought-out approach of our country aimed at achieving specific results in fulfilling this responsible mission.
Addressing the forum participants, the head of Turkmenistan emphasized the consolidating essence of the ECO as a form of economic interaction between states united geographically, historically, by traditional customs and values. Based on these natural advantages and common interests, it seems correct to call the Organization a real structure for the implementation of joint projects.
Based on this, we believe that the main task of the ECO today is to ensure sustainable development in the region through economic resources, to create opportunities for large-scale constructive cooperation in the name of peace and prosperity. Because the ECO has the necessary capabilities not only to adequately participate in global and regional economic processes, but also to actively influence their development, the head of our state said.
In this, Turkmenistan sees its upcoming chairmanship in the ECO.
In this context, the Turkmen leader briefed the Summit participants on the priority areas during the presidency of our country in the Organization.
As a strategic task, the Turkmen side considers assistance in expanding the comprehensive partnership opportunities within the ECO in the economic, trade, industrial, energy, transport, communication and cultural and humanitarian spheres.
“We plan to conduct specific work with partners to create conditions for further intensification of trade and economic relations between our countries, and are aimed at increasing the volume and diversification of trade,” President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov noted.
From this perspective, Turkmenistan proposes to start work on the creation of economic routes in the ECO region, regarding them as the main stable system that ensures the movement of goods and services, the implementation of investments. Continuing the topic, the head of the Turkmen state identified industrial cooperation, the consolidation of production and technological potential, and the implementation of large joint infrastructure projects among the priority aspects of the economy.
Obviously, the Turkmen leader emphasized that the transport and communication sphere will play a key role in achieving the goals of economic development of the ECO member countries, their full participation in modern processes. Because the Organization's space is viewed as a system of optimal, cost-effective and high-tech transport and communication hubs and routes on the Eurasian continent.
In this direction, the ECO member countries have successfully implemented a number of projects. As the most recent examples of this, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov cited the launch in January of this year of a power transmission line along the Kerki (Turkmenistan) - Shibargan (Afghanistan) route, the opening of a 30-kilometer railway line between the Akina - Andhoy stations in Afghanistan, and the commissioning of an international line of fiber-optic communication along the route Imamnazar (Turkmenistan) - Akina (Afghanistan), as well as Serhetabat (Turkmenistan) - Turgundi (Afghanistan).
In this regard, the head of Turkmenistan suggested considering the implementation of such ambitious and multilateral projects in various fields with the participation of other ECO countries.
The creation of transport corridors and logistics centers has acquired particular relevance. Based on this, the Turkmen leader expressed confidence in the need for a cardinal intensification the quality of the design work of the ECO and the promotion of the most promising models and directions in this area.
“Along with this, we urge to focus on combined transit transport corridors along the East-West route, from the Asia-Pacific region to the European part of the continent, towards the Middle East,” President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov stressed.
Turkmenistan also proposes to expand cooperation in the Caspian Sea region, since four of the five Caspian countries are ECO members. Taking this into account, it is necessary to actively advance through the Caspian in the western and northern directions, to reach the ports of the Black and Baltic Seas.
The Turkmen leader also identified the creation of energy clusters in the ECO space, the diversification of energy supplies with the participation of member states as a key task. Currently, our country, together with partners, is building the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, which is an example of optimal and mutually beneficial cooperation.
Fruitful work is also being carried out on the implementation of projects for the supply of electricity along the routes “Turkmenistan – Uzbekistan – Tajikistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan” and “Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan”.
At the same time, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov expressed his conviction in the need for additional energy routes both within the ECO region and beyond.
- In this context, the head of Turkmenistan noted the possibility of establishing targeted contacts between the Organization and other interstate formations on the continent, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Eurasian Economic Union, the Commonwealth of Independent States, whose strategic interests could, on a mutually beneficial and equal basis, coincide with the interests of the ECO.
Turkmen leader also separately stressed that our country attaches great importance to the process of rebuilding the Afghan economy as a key factor in establishing lasting peace and harmony on Afghan land. Turkmenistan provides assistance and will continue to help this brotherly country in economic revival, construction of energy supply systems, transport and communications, social facilities.
In the close involvement of Afghanistan in regional and continental economic cooperation as a participant in significant joint projects in the industrial, energy, transport, communication and logistics areas, we see a strategic opportunity for it with great prospects, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov emphasized.
As the chairman of the ECO, Turkmenistan is aimed at actively promoting the expansion of relations in the field of culture, sports, education, youth policy, tourism, intends to follow the community of moral values that unite our peoples and states by bonds of friendship and brotherhood. In this regard, the President proposed to pay special attention to cooperation in the field of science and medicine, the exchange of experience and knowledge in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Addressing the participants of the Summit, the head of Turkmenistan noted that our country regards the ECO activities as one of the factors of effective progress in the region, sees in it a great promising potential for the implementation of national programs of economic development of the Organization's member states.
- At the same time, we consider it our common task to effectively use the potential of the ECO for the well-being and prosperity of states and peoples, peace and progress in the region. As the ECO chairman, Turkmenistan will make every effort to achieve these goals, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said.
Turkmenistan has been a member of the ECO since 1992. Let us recall that this large profile regional interstate association was created in 1985 by Pakistan, Iran and Turkey with the aim of closer partnership in the spheres of economy and trade. Since 1992, the ECO has received a qualitatively new impetus in connection with the entry into it of 7 countries - Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan. The date of the expansion of the Organization to its current composition – November 28 – is celebrated as ECO Day.
In accordance with the relevant Resolution adopted in 1995, at the 50th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, ECO was granted observer status at the UN. This structure also has a similar status in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).