Tashkent, 25 January 2023 (TDI): The Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, addressed the 26th meeting of the Council of Ministers (COM) of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) in Tashkent.

During his address, Bilawal pledged to remain at the forefront of shaping ECO’s agenda as collective and coordinated efforts could realize the region’s true potential.

Notably, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is paying an official visit to Uzbekistan to attend the 26th meeting of the Council of Ministers (COM) of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO). The theme of the conference is ‘Year of Strengthening Connectivity’.

The COM is the policy-making forum of the ECO that approves the decisions and annual work plans of the organization.

Remarks by Pakistan’s Foreign Minister

While addressing the forum, Bilawal stated that Pakistan would like to see the ECO Region develop into a prosperous trading bloc that stimulates and promotes industrial growth.

In this vein, he added, “Pakistan has full faith in ECO’s bright future. We shall leave no stone unturned in helping ECO ensure its realization.

We urge ECO Member States to closely coordinate their policies to minimize the adverse impact of the global economic crisis.” The Foreign Minister urged the member states to uphold the agenda of ECO.

Along these lines, he stressed, “Let’s recall our commitment to make ECO an organization where we could proudly pass the baton to our future generations without any remorse or regrets”.

Bilawal also felicitated Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov on the assumption of the Chairmanship of the Council of Ministers. He said that Pakistan views ECO as an essential platform to strengthen ties among the member states.

Also read: Pakistan, Uzbekistan agree to bolster trade volume

“ECO was founded with high hopes and great ambitions. The Treaty of Izmir envisaged a closely knit fraternity of member states in an integrated, interconnected, and prosperous region.” The Foreign Minister reiterated.

Flood in Pakistan

The Foreign Minister of Pakistan also discussed the current challenges faced by Pakistan during his address.

In this vein, Bilawal stated, “The recent flood in Pakistan was a monsoon of biblical magnitude. Pakistan has the largest number of glaciers outside of the polar region these glaciers are melting at a rate three times higher than the global average.

Our forests are burning; while more heat waves are expected.” He said the impacts of the floods had emerged as the biggest emergency in Pakistan; not the COVID pandemic at the moment.

Also read: WHO appeals for $2.5 Billion to tackle health emergencies like Pakistan’s floods

Bilawal also welcomed the proposal of the Republic of Uzbekistan for the establishment of a High-Level Dialogue Platform on Environmental Cooperation within the framework of ECO, calling it a very sagacious decision.

Afghanistan situation

Foreign Minister told the gathering that Pakistan, which has experienced terrorism firsthand, reaffirmed its desire to see peace in Afghanistan.

“At this critical juncture, pushing the Interim Afghan Government into isolation would further aggravate the suffering of the ordinary Afghan.

History has taught us that dialogue is the only sustainable pathway that leads to desirable outcomes.” Bilawal stressed.

“The international community must respond positively and urgently to the United Nations (UN) appeal for $4.2 billion in humanitarian and economic assistance to Afghanistan, as well as explore ways and means to revitalize its banking system.” The Foreign Minister concluded.