The following article and picture materials have been provided by the Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in Seoul for publication by The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news publications since 1985.—Ed.
On January 24, 2023, the 26th meeting of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO Council of Foreign Ministers) was held in Tashkent under the chairmanship of Uzbekistan.
The event was attended by the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan Jeyhun Bayramov, Iran - Hossein Amir Abdollahian, Kazakhstan - Mukhtar Tileuberdi, Kyrgyzstan - Jeenbek Kulubaev, Pakistan - Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Tajikistan - Sirojiddin Muhriddin, Turkey - Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkmenistan - Rashid Meredov, Uzbekistan - Bakhtiyor Saidov, ECO Secretary General Khusrav Noziri, as well as heads of specialized agencies, regional institutions and affiliated bodies of the ECO.
Opening the meeting, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan Bakhtiyor Saidov noted that in 2022, together with ECO partners, significant work had been done as part of the implementation of the initiatives of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and in accordance with the Concept of the Chairmanship of Uzbekistan.
The announcement of 2022, at the initiative of the leader of Uzbekistan, as the "Year of Strengthening Interconnection in the ECO" gave a new powerful impetus to cooperation within the organization.
The Council of Foreign Ministers approved the creation of a high-level dialogue platform on cooperation in the field of environmental protection, which became the practical implementation of the initiative of the leader of our country. A new mechanism for developing recommendations for improving the organization's activities has been launched. A High-Level Committee has been established to improve the efficiency of the ECO.
During the chairmanship, a series of significant events were held in various areas, including brainstorming session on discussing the ECO reform process, meetings and conferences on renewable energy, agriculture, tourism and others. The Tashkent Declaration on cooperation in the field of agriculture and the Samarkand Declaration on cooperation in the field of tourism were adopted. The ancient city of Shakhrisabz was chosen as the tourist capital of the ECO in 2024.
Bakhtiyor Saidov confirmed the readiness of the Uzbek side to actively promote interstate and interregional cooperation in traditional and new directions.
ECO Secretary General Khusrav Noziri said the organization highly appreciates the key role and excellent leadership of Uzbekistan during its chairmanship in 2022 to further develop the ECO and its agenda of mutual progress and prosperity in the region. The growing role of the republic in the activities of the ECO was noted, which very positively contributed to the growth and development of the organization.
The importance of implementing the initiatives of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan to enrich the agenda for joint development by expanding cooperation to ensure greater regional integration was emphasized. All proposals of Uzbekistan were recognized as very relevant and supported by all member states.
On the sidelines of the Tashkent meeting, a constructive exchange of views took place on issues of further building up trade and economic ties, expanding transit and transport opportunities, searching for new points of economic growth, and enhancing regional tourism. The importance of comprehensive promotion of cooperation in the fields of energy, social welfare and environmental protection was noted.
Proposals for improving the activities of the organization, taking into account modern requirements, were discussed.
The participants of the event expressed their gratitude to the Uzbek side for the active and effective chairmanship, as well as holding the Ministerial Council meeting at a high organizational and substantive level.
The 26th meeting marked the end of the chairmanship of Uzbekistan in the ECO. The chairmanship in the organization passed to Azerbaijan.
As a result of the meeting, the Tashkent communiqué was adopted.