Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has arrived in Pakistan’s capital city of Islamabad for a two-day official visit to take part in the 13th Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Summit.
Rouhani was welcomed by Pakistan’s Minister of States and Frontier Regions Abdul Qadir Baloch upon his arrival at Benazir Bhutto International Airport on Tuesday, and was honored by a 21-gun salvo.
The Iranian president is scheduled to deliver a speech at the 13th ECO Summit on Wednesday and brief participants at the prominent regional economic body on the Islamic Republic’s stances and positions on various issues.
On the sidelines of the summit, Rouhani will also attend a dinner banquet to be hosted by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and hold meetings with senior officials of the participating countries.
This is the Iranian president’s second trip to Pakistan as he paid a two-day visit to the neighboring country last March.
The summit will open on Wednesday to review the standing of the ECO in the light of the new and emerging global and regional circumstances and discuss the course of action the organization should follow to expand regional economic cooperation among its member states. The new ECO Vision 2025 is also expected to be adopted in Islamabad.
Speaking to reporters ahead of his departure for Islamabad, Rouhani said Iran attached great importance to good relations with its neighbors
“Most of the ECO members are neighboring countries to Iran and strengthening multilateral cooperation is important for the future of the region,” he added.
The president also stated that ECO is a very important organization as Iran is a founding member of the regional body.
The region is currently at a “very sensitive” juncture and has been facing problems such as terrorism in the recent years, he added.
“At this summit, security and regional issues will be discussed with ECO leaders in addition to economic cooperation,” Rouhani said.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attended the 22nd meeting of the ECO Council of Foreign Ministers in Islamabad on Tuesday.
The last ECO summit was held in October 2012 in Baku, Azerbaijan, and the 21st meeting of the ECO Council of Foreign Ministers was held in November 2013 in the Iranian capital, Tehran.
ECO is an intergovernmental regional organization which was established in 1985 by Iran, Pakistan and Turkey for the purpose of promoting economic, technical and cultural cooperation among the member states.
In 1992, the organization was expanded to include seven new members. Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are current member states of ECO.