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Statement by His Excellency Mohammed Yahya Maroofi
Secretary General of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO)

Excellency, Mr. Abdullah Gul, President of the Republic of Turkey,
Excellency, Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan,
Excellencies, the Presidents of Member States,
Mr. Ministers,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

As Secretary General of an organization which enjoys the membership of a large segment of the countries represented here today, I am honoured to participate in such an important gathering and join voices of reaffirmations of the principles of interaction and confidence-building measures among states in this particular region of the world.

Our host country, Turkey has played a prominent role in these endeavours. The breakthrough achieved by your Government, Mr. President, and the leadership in Tehran was a manifestation of skilled diplomacy and their dedication to seeking practical solutions to challenges confronting a Member State. Turkey’s role in this endeavour has been lauded and praised by all who hold peace and development to heart. It was, therefore, with deep concern and profound sadness that we witnessed citizens of this great partner become victim of ruthless aggression and terror within the secure parameters of international waters. Mr. President, please accept our heartfelt sympathy and condolences for the families of the victims and full support in these trying and difficult period. Both events underline the challenges of our times and the importance of the principles that unite this conference.

CICA and ECO have commonality of purpose. Successful economic cooperation can only be attained within a peaceful and secure environment. Peace and development are interdependent. Peace and security engenders economic development and confidence among states renders peace more sustainable.

ECO enjoys a Memorandum of Understanding with CICA which defines specific areas of cooperation in Trade, Transportation, Narcotics, the Environment and Food Sustainability. The Organization has concluded trade preferential agreements with ECOTA and has established specialized institutions in several areas of cooperation such as the ECO Trade and Development Bank and the ECO Chamber of Commerce here in Istanbul and the ECO Cultural Institute and ECO College of Insurance in Tehran. We have initiated numerous programmes and projects in sectors such as Transport, Agriculture, Energy, Industry and prevention of illicit drug, to cite a few.

Mr. President and Distinguished participants:

Trade routes and the movement of goods and services are crucial to the development and progress of all nations. Member States of ECO lie in the heart-land of Asia and thus constitute a strategic location between East Asia, the Middle East and Europe. ECO Member States planned and successfully launched several routes that connect them through a network of railways. Last year we celebrated the completion of a link that runs from Islamabad through Tehran and onto Istanbul. A new ECO container train from Bandar Abbas to Almaty will connect the landlocked countries of Central Asia to international waters. Similarly the launching of the ECO Silk Road Truck Caravan in August of this year traversing 10 ECO Member States and ending its journey in this city of Minarets and skyscrapers will be yet another testimony to the ancient history and cultural heritage that binds our people together. We would welcome CICA involvement in this important initiative by further developing the transit infrastructure of our landlocked Member States. We look forward to your cooperation in other areas such as Tourism, the Environment, and Drug-related issues.

Mr. President,

I would like to seize this opportunity to congratulate you on your assumption of the Charimanship of CICA for the next term and to thank you and through you the Government and people of Turkey for their warm and generous hospitality in organizing this gathering. At the same time, I wish to express our sincere appreciations to the outgoing Chairman, President Nazarbayev, whose guidance and leadership has steered the Conference towards the milestones and achievements we celebrate today. Organizations such as CICA have demonstrated that with goodwill, understanding and cooperation we can lay firm foundations for realizing peace and prosperity in our region and successfully work towards the social and economic development of the peoples of this region.

Thank you, Mr. President.