ASTANA – Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Murat Nurtleu urged to strengthen cooperation during the 27th meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) member states on Oct. 10 in Shusha, Azerbaijan, reported the ministry’s press service.
The participants reviewed the draft agenda for the 16th ECO Summit, which is scheduled for November in Tashkent. Additionally, they approved the reports of the ECO Secretary General on the activities of the SCO. The sides exchanged views on advancing cooperation within the ECO and discussed current international and regional agendas.
Nurtleu emphasized the growing role of the SCO in light of the prevailing geopolitical and geo-economic dynamics. He urged the participants to implement infrastructure projects in Kazakhstan, develop economic cooperation between the ECO and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) and resolve the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, a key role in which will be given to the United Nations Regional Center for Sustainable Development Goals for Central Asia and Afghanistan in Almaty.
“Kazakhstan believes that the ECO is able and should play a more important strategic role in the development of the region. We need to make joint efforts to promote common projects of the organization’s member countries,” he said.
Nurtleu proposed to increase the volume of intraregional trade and cargo flows, including by tapping into the capabilities of existing transport and logistics routes between the countries of the region. He underlined the need to strengthen cooperation in investment, energy, agriculture, finance, tourism, digitalization, industrial cooperation and food security.
Following the meeting, the parties adopted the Shusha Declaration, which centers on enhanced regional cooperation. The council decided that its next meeting will be hosted by Iran, who will assume the Chairmanship of the organization for 2024, as reported by the SCO press service.
On the sidelines, Nurtleu conducted bilateral discussions with foreign counterparts: Azerbaijan’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Jeyhun Bayramov; Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Jalil Abbas Jilani; and Iran’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Mahdi Safari. The dialogues were centered on enhancing bilateral ties in trade, economy, and investment. All parties reiterated their commitment to fostering cooperation within diverse multilateral platforms.
On the sidelines of the event, Nurtleu also met with ECO Secretary General, Khusrav Noziri, to discuss cooperation between Kazakhstan and the ECO.
The organization, created in 1985 to promote economic, technical and cultural cooperation between member states, consists of 10 countries – Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Türkiye, and Uzbekistan. Kazakhstan has been a member of the ECO since 1992.