ECO can function as bridge between Europe, Asia: President

Islamabad, January 31, 2018 (PPI-OT): President Mamnoon Hussain has said that ECO region, located at the crossroads, has both the potential and the capacity to function as a bridge between North and South, Europe and Asia. He further stressed the importance of combating transnational crimes including terrorism, money laundering and drug trafficking and reiterated the significance of judicial cooperation between the ECO member states. The President said this while talking to a delegation of Attorneys/Prosecutors General of ECO Countries which led by Secretary General of the Economic Cooperation Organization Halil Ibrahim Akca called on him at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, Islamabad on Wednesday.

The President stated that as the current Chairman of ECO, Pakistan realises its responsibility and extends its full support to the ECO projects and initiatives. The President emphasize that Institutional and people-to-people connectivity is of immense importance for the region. He highlighted that the deliberations at the 3rd Meeting of Attorneys/Prosecutors General will lead to enhanced judicial cooperation between ECO member states. He underlined that the meeting will help participants exchange perceptions of crimes such as acts of terrorism, smuggling and money laundering. He expressed hope that the meeting will also address possible oversight mechanisms to combat these crimes at the regional and international level.

The common threats including cyber-crimes endanger legal safety and security of all countries in the region, he added. He stressed that effective judicial cooperation will contribute to the security, stability and economic uplift of the region. The President underscored that ECO members need to strengthen transport and communication infrastructure, facilitate trade and investment and identify important sectoral priorities of the ECO for development and growth in the region. He pointed out that economic complementarities hold the promise of expanding both inter-regional and intra-regional trade and cooperation within the ECO framework. He added that ECO Trade Agreement (ECOTA) is the Organization’s major initiative towards trade liberalization in the ECO region.

The President stated that the 13th ECO Summit held in Islamabad last year adopted the Islamabad Declaration and ECO vision 2025. He stressed that the Islamabad Declaration provides guidelines for greater economic integration within the ECO region. The declaration focuses on “Connectivity” as a dynamic concept encompassing multiple dimensions from transit transport linkages to cyber connections, he added. He stated that the execution of “ECO Vision-2025” underscores the importance of working together for ECO’s prosperity and Pakistan believes that ECO Vision 2025 will serve as a roadmap for the success of the Organization in coming years.

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