APP03-01 ISLAMABAD: March 01 – Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif along with Secretary General ECO briefs the media persons after attending the 13th ECO Summit titled Connectivity for Regional Prosperity attended by head of states of Iran, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Republic of Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan at a local hotel. APP photo by Irshad Sheikh

ISLAMABAD, Mar 1 (APP): Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif
Wednesday said the member countries of Economic Cooperation
Organization (ECO) were determined to realize the vision of making
the region a zone of peace and prosperity.
“Collectively, we have committed ourselves to working together for bringing progressive change to the lives of the half of billion people in our region, transforming it into a bastion of peace, progress and prosperity,” the Prime Minister said in a joint stakeout with ECO Secretary General Halil Ibrahim Akca at the conclusion of the summit.
He said the ECO states were also determined to collectively face the challenges of extremism, terrorism and drug trafficking for a peaceful region.
Nawaz Sharif said the ECO region straddled the centre of Eurasian land mass and its geography made it indispensable for East-West connectivity.
This region, he said, had always been a route for exchange of cultures and ideas.
He said the participating leaders of the summit had directed the ECO governing bodies to build and promote multi-dimensional connectivity in keeping with the summit’s theme ‘connectivity for regional prosperity’.
He said the collective political will of the ECO states had been unambiguously reflected in the Islamabad Declaration adopted by the summit.
The declaration, he said, underlined the importance of fully exploiting the economic complimentarities of member states, simultaneously strengthening their historic and civilizational bonds and to act as the bedrock for regional integration.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said energy sufficiency was indispensable for implementing any plan for economic development.
He emphasized on the need for regional cooperation in the energy sector focusing on efficiency, related infrastructure development and intra-regional energy trade.
This would help provide cheap affordable energy for the benefit of people, he added.
The Prime Minister said the ECO, at its heart, was about the people and focused on people-to-people contacts as well as to revive and promote regional tourism.
Nawaz Sharif said the ECO countries remained committed to
strengthening collaboration to address common challenges such as
climate change and food security.
He said the ECO leaders during the summit agreed on importance
of innovation to achieve excellence and emphasized on linkages
between higher education and research institutions as well as
partnerships in science and technologies.
The Prime Minister said the ECO leaders also agreed to cooperate for the effective implementation of Agenda 2030, aimed at leaving ‘no-one left behind’.
“I believe that the ECO holds tremendous potential and promise. Its steady progress in various areas of cooperation has, over time, brought its member states closer,” he said.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the ECO Vision 2025 adopted at the summit was a significant achievement, which set tangible and pragmatic goals along with an implementation framework.
“We shall collectively endeavour to build and promote connectivity in multiple domains, including sea, land, air and cyberspace. This will give further impetus to intra-regional trade,” he said.
He said Pakistan was honoured to host the summit on the occasion of silver jubilee of the expansion of SCO membership and expressed gratitude to the participating presidents, prime ministers and leaders of delegation for their participation.
He mentioned that the valuable contributions of the leaders had made the event a resounding success, who held an exhaustive overview of matters of interests to the region.
He said the successful holding of the summit was a manifestation of the desire and commitment of ECO member states to transform the ECO into a vibrant and leading regional bloc.
“It is also a testament to Pakistan’s commitment to act as a harbinger of positive change and development in the region,” he said.