The ECO Secretary General Ambassador Khusrav Noziri delivered a video statement at an International Seminar: “Trade and Connectivity – Western Neighbourhood of Pakistan” on January 25, 2023.
In his remarks, the ECO Secretary General emphasized the importance of cooperation on transport connectivity that, he considered, is the key to accelerating trade and economic growth as well as sustainable development across the regions. Relevantly, he recalled that the promotion of trade and connectivity remains on top of the ECO’s agenda, citing that a considerable number of programs and projects have been implemented within the framework of the Organization which are aimed at a robust and an all-inclusive integration of the region, particularly the intensification of connectivity amongst the Member States, including road, rail, maritime and civil aviation networks as well as customs and ICT collaboration.
The ECO Secretary General noted that the strategic approach of Pakistan for consolidating and enhancing trade and connectivity with country’s western neighbours, especially the central Asia, Iran and Türkiye, is well reflected in the ECO Vision 2025 and the relevant policy guidelines of the Organization. Moreover, he referred to important connectivity projects of the ECO that help connect Pakistan with rest of the region via road and railway links. In this regard, he mentioned some of the projects, including the construction of Kerman-Zahedan rail line in Iran as the major missing link in the ITI corridor, assisting in accession of Pakistan to TIR and COTIF conventions, conducting study projects, organizing workshops, provision of necessary technical assistance, operationalization of ITI road corridor in 2021, resumption of ITI Train services in 2021.
Many other activities, specifically to augment connectivity between Pakistan and other countries of the region demonstrate the ECO’s reflection, role and contribution for sustainable development and greater integration of its member nations, the ECO Secretary General underscored. In addition, he highlighted major issues that appear to impede smooth operationalization of ITI road and rail corridors, mainly the reconstruction or rehabilitation of Quetta-Taftan rail link.
The international event was held at the National Defence University of Pakistan in Islamabad on January 24-25 2023 with participants from international Organizations, public and private stakeholders, academia, etc.