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Region's Presidents gather in Tehran for ECO Summit

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency, Tehran

The 10th Summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) kicked off in Tehran on Wednesday morning. Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev delivered a speech after the opening ceremony and then handed over the ECO presidency to his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The 18th ECO foreign ministerial meeting started work in Tehran on Monday morning to prepare the grounds for the ECO Summit.

Economic Cooperation Organization is an intergovernmental international organization involving ten regional nations. Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are the ECO member states.

The summit will review the world's financial crisis and ways to face the economic challenges. It will also hold talks on the techniques to accelerate the implementation of agreements between ECO member states and fighting drug trafficking.

Iran president proposes ways to boost ECO performance

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proposed new ways to boost the performance of the Economic Cooperation Organization.

He made the proposals during his speech at the opening of the ongoing 10th ECO summit in Tehran. Ahmadinejad took over the rotatory presidency of the organization from his Azeri counterpart at the beginning of the ceremony.

Describing as progressive and prospering the current status of the ECO, he said the organization should plan and implement a new economic order based on humanistic and ethical values to replace the existing economic system in the world.

Ahmadinejad also proposed devising and using of a single currency among the ECO member states in exchanges among member states and with their neighboring countries.

The new ECO chief also proposed establishment of a trade and development bank which would have branches in all member states.

Gul: ECO able to shift world financial crisis to opportunity

Turkish President Abdullah Gul said on Wednesday ECO can change the world's financial crisis into opportunity.

Addressing the 10th Summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), President Gul said the world countries have been affected by the economic recession which has had a minor impact on the ECO member states.

Gul urged the ECO member countries to do all necessary to reduce customs tariffs which would lead to further trade cooperation between the regional states.

The Turkish president said his country spares no effort to strengthen the regional economic cooperation as well as ensuring stability and tranquility in the region.

He then called for expansion of cooperation between the ECO members in transportation and energy fields that would be a great help to bringing stability to the region.

He added Turkey is firmly committed to work under the ECO objectives.

Qatari Emir: ECO conference has helped bolster economic ties

Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani said on Wednesday that the ECO conference is a good opportunity to study and bolster economic cooperation among countries in the region.

The Qatari Emir is attending the 10th Summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) as a special guest.

Addressing the ECO Summit, he said the world is now undergoing a very serious financial crisis and "We have no idea to what extent it will leave impact on countries in the region."

He noted, "We should do our best to lessen the impact of such global economic meltdown."

He also thanked Iran for the successful holding of the conference and hoped that Tehran conference could play effective role in bolstering economic and commercial ties among countries in the region.

Talabani: Iraq extends hand of brotherhood to ECO members

Iraq President Jalal Talabani said his country extends hand of brotherhood to ECO member states.

Talabani who is attending the Tenth ECO Summit as a special guest added that Iraq declares its readiness to actively cooperate with ECO members in all fields.

Stating that today Iraq is more in need of collaboration with ECO members in fighting terrorism, Talabani noted, "We believe ECO plays a significant role in the region's stability and security, especially in the field of fighting terrorism and drug smuggling."

Under the current situation, Iraq hopes to enhance ties with ECO members more than ever, he said.

Given that the issue of globalization prevails, regional and international cooperation is of extraordinary importance, he said, noting that new approaches should be adopted to be able to use regional capacities and facilities.

Kazakh PM proposes use of single currency by ECO members

Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov on Wednesday proposed that ECO member states use single currency, given the global financial crisis.

Addressing the Tenth ECO Summit on Wednesday, he said that expansion of cooperation among members of the organization, especially in the fields of energy and transportation, is of special significance.

Stating that some ECO member states have joined World Trade Organization (WTO), he called on them to make use their membership to strengthen cooperation among countries.

Stressing the need for expansion of cooperation among the private sectors in the ECO region, Masimov said that ECO needs new approaches and basic changes so as to make further progress.

He also urged ECO members to help reconstruct the war-stricken country of Afghanistan.

Prior to his speech, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguli Berdimuhamedov called for further solidarity among the member states.

Karzai: Afghan people real victims of terrorism

Tehran, March 11, IRNA - Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai said his people were the real victims of the international terrorism.

Addressing the 10th Summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) currently underway in Tehran, he called on the ECO member states to cooperate to eliminate international terrorism.

He also referred to drugs trafficking as one of the main problems his country was facing and, pointing to the direct relations existing between the drugs trafficking and terrorism, Karzai said the global mafia profited most of these two activities.

Karzai hailed Iran's cooperation with Afghanistan in fighting terrorism and said joint efforts have resulted in a 20-30 percent decrease in the amount of narcotics production in Afghanistan.

... Payvand News - 03/11/09 ... --

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