For Iran, Neighbors Always Come First – Zarif
By Staff, Agencies
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who is in Turkey to attend the 24th meeting of the Economic Cooperation Organization [ECO], stressed that for Tehran “neighbors always come first.”
“Pleased to be in Turkey, attending 24th ministerial meeting of the ECO,” Zarif wrote in a tweet on Saturday, hours after taking part in the meeting with his Pakistani and Turkish counterparts.
“In keeping with Iran’s foreign policy that posits our neighbors should always come first, regional cooperation remains a priority,” he said. “We hope this cooperation can be welcomed by neighbors to our south, too.”
Speaking at the summit, Zarif called on the two neighbors to use the ECO to its full potential in order to grow closer ties between the members and use their funds as well.
“With a population of around half a billion people, incredible geographic situation, vast energy and mineral resources, advanced human resources, huge commercial market as well as cultural and historical similarities the ECO has all of the required parameters to succeed in multilateral cooperation between nations,” he said.
Zarif argued that a lack of appropriate design for economic cooperation was the primary challenge facing the ECO.
He said the Economic Cooperation Organization Trade Agreement [ECOTA] and other internal arrangements of the ECO needed to become operational so that all traders could get involved in the advancement of the Middle East region and its nations.
Using national currencies for bilateral trade, reducing the costs and speeding up the customs clearance were some of the measures that Zarif said could be taken to boost cooperation.