Nov 24, 2021, 12:32 PM
Journalist ID: 1195
News Code: 84553497
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ECO could reduce third-party actors' malign activity in region: Academic

Tehran, IRNA – An Iranian professor said that the potential economic and cultural cooperation between Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) member states was expected to reduce political disputes and malign activities of third-party actors in the region.

Ahmad Kazemi said in an interview with Iran on Wednesday that the ECO was hoped to make a wave of economic cooperation in the region after seven countries joined the international organization as full members, adding a significant capacity to the body in terms of geopolitics, transit, and energy.

However, the professor said, such factors as political disputes and economic imbalance between members and trans-regional powers' interference have had negative impacts on members' cooperation.

In the meantime, this shouldn't be considered a negative driving force in the ECO's prospect, Kazemi noted, adding that many economic organizations like Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have managed to reduce tensions despite disagreements between members.

He pointed to the ECO's accessibility to five waterways, namely the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman, the Caspian Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Black Sea, and its aggregated population of about 500 million people.

Referring to the ECO summit next week in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, he said that the organization can become a leading one in the region if members agree on existing cooperation grounds, especially in the upcoming meeting.

Kazemi also pointed to the many energy pipelines in the region, including Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline (TANAP), Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline (TAPI), and transit corridors, including north-south corridor and China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), as good bases for cooperation.

Accepting new members in the organization, especially Iraq and Armenia that have applied for membership, and establishing a mechanism for cooperation with other regional organizations like EAEU, SCO and D-8, were among other solutions highlighted by Kazemi to make the ECO more efficient.

The ECO charters should be reviewed, revised, and implemented completely, he said, adding that its charters has provisioned, for example, to hold the summit twice a year, but the leaders' summit hasn't been held regularly so far.

Kazemi suggested that ECO members make economic cooperation basis of their interactions and consider cultural cooperation as a complement to it.

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