TURKEY

FM Çavuşoğlu chairs 2-day ECO meeting

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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu chaired the 24th Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Council of Ministers Meeting in Turkey's Mediterranean resort city of Antalya on Saturday.

Turkey will develop a new initiative in Asia during its presidency, and increase the dynamism in Asia by working in many areas such as education, trade, technology, culture, cultural and political dialogue, Çavuşoğlu said at the opening speech of the meeting that will conclude on Sunday.

"As a founding member and the chair of the organization, we will continue in an effective manner activities of the ECO which aims at increasing cooperation and well-being in our region," a statement by the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

Stressing that the trade volume in the ECO region is around $100 billion, Çavuşoğlu said it is necessary for Turkey to be willing to achieve more goals.

Çavuşoğlu added that intra-regional trade, energy efficiency, as well as tourism should be promoted.

On the sidelines of the meeting, Çavuşoğlu met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Çavuşoğlu also held talks with Kudret Özersay, deputy prime minister and foreign minister of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), and "evaluated cooperation" between the two countries, Çavuşoğlu said on Twitter.

The Council of Ministers is the highest policy and decision-making body of ECO and meets in regular, informal or extraordinary sessions.

Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan hold ECO membership.

Established as Regional Cooperation for Development in 1964 by Iran, Pakistan and Turkey, the organization was renamed as ECO in 1985, according to its website.

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