World Economy’s Heart to Beat in Asia
“At this summit, security and regional issues will be discussed with
ECO leaders in addition to economic cooperation,” Rouhani said.
President Hassan Rouhani was accorded a very warm welcome on his arrival
(Feb. 28) in Islamabad to participate in the 13th Economic Cooperation
Organization (ECO) Summit meeting.
Federal Minister Abdul Qadir Baloch received the visiting dignitary at the
Nur Khan Air Base. The Iranian President was presented a 21-gun-salute on
A red carpet was rolled out for President Rouhani, while a smartly
turned-out contingent of Pakistan Armed Forces presented a guard of honor to
The Iranian President delivered a speech at the ECO Summit on the Islamic
Republic’s stances and positions on various issues.
On the sidelines of the summit, Rouhani also attended a dinner banquet
hosted by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and held meetings with
senior officials of the participating countries, including his Turkish
counterpart Tayyip Erdogan.
This was the Iranian President’s second trip to Pakistan as he paid a
two-day visit to the neighboring country in March 2016.
The summit reviewed the standing of the ECO in the light of the new and
emerging global and regional circumstances and discussed the course of
action the organization should follow to expand regional economic
cooperation among its member states.
Speaking to reporters ahead of his departure for Islamabad, Rouhani said
Iran attached great importance to good relations with its neighbors
“Most of the ECO members are neighboring countries to Iran and strengthening
multilateral cooperation is important for the future of the region,” he
The region is currently at a “very sensitive” juncture and has been facing
problems such as terrorism in the recent years, he noted.
“At this summit, security and regional issues will be discussed with ECO
leaders in addition to economic cooperation,” Rouhani said.
The last ECO s ummit was held in October 2012 in Baku, Azerbaijan, and the
21st meeting of the ECO Council of Foreign Ministers was held in November
2013 in the Iranian capital, Tehran.
ECO is an intergovernmental regional organization which was established in
1985 by Iran, Pakistan and Turkey for the purpose of promoting economic,
technical and cultural cooperation among the member states.
In 1992, the organization was expanded to include seven new members.
Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan,
Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are current member states of ECO.
World Economy’s Heart to Beat in Asia
Rouhani said Asia is to take the lead from the rest of the world in economic
supremacy from the second half of the 21st century onwards.
“The world economy’s heart is to beat in Asia from the second half of the
present century,” President Rouhani said in his address at the forum.
“Emerging Asian economies will be changing the course of the world economy
from the West toward the East. This change will turn the 21st century to the
century of Asia’s supremacy,” he added.
Economic assessments, the Iranian chief executive said, showed that change
in the economic position of some of the influential members of ECO over the
next decade will again make the organization “the key to West-East
interaction in the Asia of the future.”
Rouhani said that the ECO region was the shortest and most economical course
for trade and transportation from Europe to the rest of Asia.
He said, however, there was much room for the enhancement of cooperation in
the field of energy in the geographical region.
Rouhani noted that ECO should play its effective role in building future
economies, as a unique geo-strategic location of the region putting the
10-member group in an ideal position.
Elsewhere in his remarks, President Rouhani urged “faith in our capability
to solve our problems” and an end to the “destructive competitions” in the
fight against the common bane of terrorism and extremism.
Toward that purpose, he asserted, “we should mobilize our wills to return to
our historical position of highway of civilization, culture, and business.”
The Iranian President stressed that ECO forms a suitable ground for the
creation of a safer region for our peoples.
Trade Ties with Turkey, Pakistan
Speaking to reporters upon his arrival at Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport, Rouhani
said the ECO Summit highlighted promoting bonds among member states. He
added that the participants underlined the necessity of cooperating on road,
railway and shipping activities as well as in gas and oil sectors. They also
called for removing obstacles in the way of trade among those countries.
Referring to his meetings with Pakistani premier and Turkish president on
the sidelines of the summit, Rouhani said that Iran, Pakistan and Turkey are
the founding members of ECO and that the meetings focused on bilateral
relations between the two sides.
He further noted that during the meeting with President Erdoğan, the two
discussed promotion of bilateral banking relations and using their national
currencies for trade activities. It was also agreed that preferential tariff
agreement, earlier discussed by the two countries’ officials, be
Turkey’s investment in Iran and regional developments were also discussed in
the meeting with Turkish president, Rouhani said.
He hailed his
talks with Prime Minister Sharif, saying that the two exchanged views on
bilateral ties, cooperation in the field of energy and increasing gas
exports to Turkey.