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    • ECO delegation in New York
      ECO delegation in New York
      An ECO delegation headed by Secretary General H.E. Mr. Halil Ibrahim Akca visited New York from 19 to 23 to attend informal meeting of ECO Council of Ministers and 72nd UN General Assembly. The delegation also held some bilateral meetings.

      a. Informal Council of Ministers (COM) Meeting
      The Informal Meeting of ECO Council of Ministers was held on 19 September 2017 on the sidelines of the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. The Meeting was chaired by H.E. Mr. Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and was attended by Ministers and high-level officials from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Republic of Azerbaijan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Republic of Tajikistan, Republic of Turkey and Turkmenistan. Turkish Cypriot State attended the Meeting as “Observer”.

      At the beginning of the Meeting, H.E. Mr. Khawaja Muhammad Asif made his opening statement followed by Secretary General’s report to the Meeting elaborating follow-up activities of the Organization since the 22nd Council of Ministers Meeting held on 28th February 2017 in Islamabad. Secretary Genreal also addressed the ongoing ECO projects and programmes and external relations, including relations with other regional and international organizations. Secretary General’s report also contained recommendations in the priority areas of the ECO activities.

      During the Meeting the Ministers/Heads of Delegation made statements/remarks elaborating their views on the regional cooperation in the framework of ECO. They also shared with the Council their views on relevant regional and global developments since last COM Meeting.

      At the end of the Meeting, the Council expressed appreciation to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, particularly Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Permanent Mission in New York for the excellent arrangements in organizing this Informal COM Meeting. Efforts of the ECO Secretary General and his team for preparation and coordination for the Meeting were also appreciated by the Council.

      b. UN General Assembly
      ECO delegation also attended the general debate of the 72nd UN General Assembly where Heads of State/Government, foreign ministers and high level officials of the UN Member States and observers delivered formal statements addressing a wide array of international issues such as development, peace and security, international and humanitarian law, etc. They mostly focused on the importance of the security issues and the need for greater global cooperation and called for stronger and more flexible reformed UN to tackle global crises; more effective economic assistance and aides by developed to developing countries; need to enhance the role of multilateralism; etc.

      c. Meeting with Secretary General of ASEAN
      A bilateral meeting between ECO Secretary General H.E. Mr. Halil Ibrahim Akca and ASEAN Secretary General H.E. Mr. Le Luong Minh was held on 21 September 2017 on the margins of the of 72nd UN General Assembly session in New York. During the Meeting the two sides discussed issues of bilateral cooperation which is governed by MoU and Work Programme adopted in 2006. Both sides were of the view that tangible cooperation has yet to be realized. It was suggested that new areas of interest for cooperation may be added to the areas envisaged in the MoU, including transport and connectivity, energy, minerals and environment, human resources and sustainable development. In order to strengthen cooperation, it was agreed to develop a new document called “ASEAN-ECO Framework of Cooperation”, which will incorporate areas of mutual interest and benefit to both organizations.

      ECO Secretary General while referring to the Meeting with ASEAN Member States’ Ambassadors in Tehran proposed to strengthen Secretariat to Secretariat cooperation. He also suggested that ECO-ASEAN Member States Meeting at the level of Ambassadors may be held on a regular basis in Tehran. The ASEAN Secretary General in return stated that it is time to add a new dimension to cooperation between the two Organizations. The two sides expressed readiness to continue further discussions and consultations for realizing agreed course of action.

      d. Signing Memorandum of Understanding between ECO and UNOSS
      The signing ceremony of Memorandum of Understanding between the Economic Cooperation Organization and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSS) was held on 19 September 2017 on the sidelines of the Informal Meeting of the ECO Council of Ministers, with the participation of distinguished Ministers/representatives of the ECO Member States.

      ECO Secretary General Mr. Halil Ibrahim Akca and Mr. Jorge Chediek, the Envoy of the UN Secretary General on South-South Cooperation and Director of UN Office for South-South Cooperation signed the MoU on behalf of both organizations.

      ECO Secretary General and UN Secretary General’s Envoy in their statements at the signing ceremony emphasized on the need for development of bilateral relations and mutually beneficial cooperation in the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding, acting primarily on priority areas.

      e. Meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkish Cypriot State

      A bilateral meeting between ECO Secretary General H.E. Mr. Halil Ibrahim Akca and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkish Cypriot State, H.E. Mr. Tahsin Ertugruloglu, was held on 21 September 2017 on the margins of the General Debate of 72nd UN General Assembly in New York. At the outset H.E. Mr. Tahsin Ertugruloglu expressed his gratitude for invitation to attend the Informal Council of Ministers (COM) Meeting held on 19 September 2017 in New York.

      A number of issues were discussed at the Meeting. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkish Cypriot State requested for Permanent observership in ECO as well as more facilitated participation of observers in ECO meetings. He also informed about preparations for some ECO meetings to be co-hosted by Turkey in Turkish Cypriot State.
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