Tajik President Emomali Rahmon yesterday met here with Ambassador Halil İbrahim Akça, Secretary General of the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO), who arrived in Dushanbe to participate in the 23rd session of the ECO Council of Foreign Ministers that is taking place in the Tajik capital today.

According to the Tajik president’s official website, the two sides discussed state and prospects of further expansion of cooperation of Tajikistan with the ECO member nations.

They, in particular, pointed out contribution of the ECO to expansion of cooperation between its member nations in the framework of regional socioeconomic development.  

Tajik leader noted that Tajikistan attached significance to cooperation in the fields of energy, commerce, investment and transportation.  

Rahmon and Akça reportedly also exchanged views on the ECO Vision 2025 and the main goals of Tajikistan National Development Strategy for the Period to 2030.   

They also touched upon issues related to providing regional security, promoting regional trade, establishing peace in Afghanistan, etc. 

Halil İbrahim Akça is a Turkish diplomat and the 11th Secretary General of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO).  Prior to serving as head of the ECO, Akça was the Turkish Ambassador to Northern Cyprus from 2011 to 2015.  Previously, he held several positions within the Turkish government, including Under-Secretary of the State Planning Organization in 2009, and was a member of several Turkish government boards.

Founded by the leaders of Iran, Pakistan and Turkey in Tehran in 1985, the Economic Cooperation Organisation or ECO is a Eurasian political and economic intergovernmental organization.  It provides a platform to discuss ways to improve development and promote trade and investment opportunities. The ECO is an ad hoc organization under the United Nations Charter.  The objective is to establish a single market for goods and services, much like the European Union.  ECO's secretariat and cultural department are located in Iran, its economic bureau is in Turkey and its scientific bureau is situated in Pakistan.

The nature of ECO is that it consists of predominantly Muslim-majority states as it is a trade bloc for the Central Asian states connected to the Mediterranean through Turkey, to the Persian Gulf via Iran, and to the Arabian Sea via Pakistan.  The current framework of ECO expresses itself mostly in the form of bilateral agreements and arbitration mechanisms between individual and fully sovereign member states. This makes ECO similar to ASEAN in that it is an organization that has its own offices and bureaucracy for implementation of trade amongst sovereign member states.