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BAKU, October 16 (Itar-Tass) – Development of regional economic ties in the fields of transport, energy, agriculture, and nature conservation will be in the focus of attention of a summit conference of the Economic Cooperation Organization opening Tuesday in Baku.
This is ECO’s twelfth summit. It will bring together President Khamid Karzai of Afghanistan, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan, Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan, and Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, who is the host of the conference.
Turkey has delegated Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Uzbekistan – Parliament Speaker Ilgizar Sabirov, and Kazakhstan – Transport and Communications Minister Askar Zhumagaliyev.
Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said the summit is expected to map out the priority guidelines for economic cooperation in the region that has a profound economic potential.
Among these priorities, he named trade, investment, and informational/communication technologies.
The participating officials are also expected to consider a deepening of integration and the new challenges the regional countries are faced with amid the financial and economic crisis that has swept the world.
Upon the results of the summit, the member-states are going to issue the Baku Declaration, the text of which was coordinated at a session of the ECO Council of Ministers Monday.
Iran, Turkey and Pakistan set up ECO in 1985 to deepen economic, technological and cultural cooperation. It became a successor to the organization of Regional Cooperation for Development /RCD/ that was set up in 1964 and existed through to 1979.
Afghanistan, as well as six former Soviet republics – Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan – joined ECO in the early 1990’s.
“The ECO region is full of bright trading prospects,” the organization says at its official website, adding however that it “faces daunting challenges with respect to realization of its objectives and goals.”
ECO underlines first and foremost a shortage of appropriate infrastructure and institutions which it “is seeking to develop, on priority basis, to make full use of the available resources in the region.”