The 14th Meeting of ECO Council of Ministers
The 14th Meeting of Council of Ministers (COM) of the Economic Cooperation Organization was held on 12 September 2004 in Dushanbe, Republic of Tajikistan. The meeting was attended by the delegations of the Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan, Republic of Azerbaijan, Islamic Republic of Iran, Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Republic of Tajikistan, Republic of Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Republic of Uzbekistan. Representatives of the ECO Specialized Agencies and ECO Secretariat also attended the meeting.
The meeting was inaugurated by the outgoing out going chairman of COM, H. E. Mr. Askar Aitmatov, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic. In his opening remarks, Mr. Aitmatov referred to progress made by ECO in various areas, particularly Trade, Transport and Energy. He also expressed satisfaction at ECO’s growing relations with the other international organizations and stated that with the passage of time ECO had grown into a major regional organization.
The Council Unanimously elected H. E. Mr. Talbak Nazarov, the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Tajikistan as its new chairman. In his statement, Mr. Nazarov underlined his vision for further enhancement of the economic cooperation. In this connection, he referred to the continued commitment and support of the Republic of Tajikistan to the goals and objectives of ECO.
In their statements the Heads of the delegations reiterated their commitment to the ECO objectives and briefed the Council on the steps taken by their respective governments to implement the ECO decisions. The representatives of the ECO Specialized Agencies submitted their annual reports and briefed the Council on their current and future avctivities.
In his statement H. E. Mr. Askhat Orazbay, ECO Secretary General, briefed the Council on the activities that were undertaken in the Economic Cooperation Organization since the 13th COM, held in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, in June 2003. He also highlighted the achievements of the Organization in various fields of cooperation as well as the suggested measures to speed up the pace of cooperation. He also gave a set of recommendations for the consideration of the COM.
The 14th COM reviewed and approved/adopted, inter alia, the ECO Secretariat’s budget for 2004, ECO Secretariat’s Audit Report for 2003, report of 14th Meeting of ECO Regional Planning Council (RPC), as well as the reports of other sectoral meetings held after the 13th COM, including the reports of the 2nd ECO Ministerial Meeting on Commerce/Foreign Trade, the 1st Ministerial Meeting on Industry, the 1st Ministerial Meeting on Finance/Economy and the 5th Ministerial Meeting on Transport and Communications. The COM deliberated on joint action to combat drug trafficking, implementation of the ECO Trade Agreement (ECOTA) and increasing the role of private sector in the ECO activities.
The Council also reviewed the preparation for the 8th ECO Summit Meeting made by the ECO Secretariat and finalized the draft Dushanbe Declaration, expected to be issued by the 8th ECO Summit.