Tashkent (IP) - Iranian Foreign Minister said that the ECO region can become a model of partnership between energy-producing and energy-consuming countries

Iran PressAsia: Hossein Amir-Abdollahian made the remarks Tuesday addressing the 26th Meeting of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Council of Ministers in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Afghanistan very important member of ECO

Afghanistan is a very important member and part of the big ECO family, he said.

The Islamic Republic of Iran was one of the main countries in designing and approving the "ECO Supportive Policy for Afghanistan" and has always supported its full and effective implementation, he added.

This support is in addition to bilateral aid to solve Afghans’ problems and prevent humanitarian crises, he noted.

Undoubtedly, the establishment of an inclusive government in Afghanistan can not only help the aid programs and reconstruction of the country, but it will also reduce the threats caused by terrorist operations, refugees, and drug trafficking in the region, Amir-Abdollahian said.

"We describe the action of the ruling body of Afghanistan in depriving women and girls of education, as in conflict with the teachings of the merciful religion of Islam, and we express our deep concern about it," he stated.

ECO should promote intra-regional trade between members, Amir-Abdollahian noted.

Trade between members has not so far received sufficient support from ECO's trade mechanisms, he noted.

I suggest and request that all members, and not just the 5 members of the Economic Cooperation Organization Trade Agreement (ECOTA), support and participate in the start of negotiations for free trade at the regional level, he said.

Transportation is one of the drivers of convergence and collective development and prosperity of the economic capacities of the region in the coming years, he added.

As a region, ECO is a transit route to connect peripheral regions including East and South Asia, North and Eastern Europe, and the south of the Persian Gulf, Iran's top diplomat noted.

The current energy security crisis in the world and the region has clearly revealed the vulnerability of energy-consuming countries to unexpected shocks, he stressed.

Climate changes and the recent winter cold have also highlighted the vulnerability of some energy-producing countries, Amir-Abdollahian said.

"ECO region can become a model of partnership between energy-producing and energy-consuming countries. Undoubtedly, participation in the gas and electricity sectors is one of ECO's priorities in this regard," he added.

ECO needs more and more investment in the field of new technologies, knowledge-based industries, and digitalization of economic activities, Iran's foreign minister noted.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to share its achievements in knowledge-based fields with ECO member countries, he said.

Iran welcomes strengthening of ECO

"We have always welcomed initiatives and proposals that lead to strengthening the role and position of ECO in the member states’ economic development," he added.

Accordingly, strengthening the sense of belonging to ECO is very key in the eyes of the private and public sectors as well as their elites and above all in the eyes of the regional people, he said.

"We also need the presence of all 10 member states in the ECO cooperation mechanisms and arrangements," he added.

"The establishment of two new cooperation mechanisms including the "Eco Natural Disaster Risk Management Regional Center" in the Islamic Republic of Iran and the "Eco Clean Energy Center" in the Republic of Azerbaijan are on the agenda of the event, and we hope that all members will support and join them," he noted.

"In addition to responsible approaches in regional frameworks, the Islamic Republic of Iran adheres to its obligations in the global arena," Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said.

"Within the framework of national and Islamic foundations and principles, the constitution and international commitments, attention to human rights issues is among the priorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and it always welcomes dialogue within the framework of mutual respect and meaningful interaction with serious partners," he added.

"We actively and responsibly participate in global and regional initiatives and programs to fight environmental challenges and climate change and their effects, including on water resources and the occurrence of natural disasters," said the foreign minister.

"Domestic water management and cooperation with regional countries on common rivers, as well as dealing with the roots and effects of dust storms, are among the areas that we are interested in," Amir-Abdollahian said.

In 2022, a regional meeting at the level of environment ministers was held in Tehran with the aim of drafting a regional convention, he noted.

"Iran’s foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is based on the doctrine of balanced foreign policy, interaction, and cooperation with the world, and non-interference in internal affairs," Iran's top diplomat said.

Iran condemns European Parliament resolution

"We strongly condemn the issuance of the interventionist and unconventional resolution by the European Parliament," he added.

"Undoubtedly, the negative consequences of such emotional behavior are costly for Europe, and therefore the right path is to focus on diplomacy, constructive interaction, and rationality," Iran's foreign minister noted.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran slams insulting behavior towards the sanctities of divine religions, especially the desecration of the Holy Qur'an and the Western government's support for it under the pretext of freedom of expression," he concluded.


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