Iraq has applied to join the Economic Cooperation Organization, or ECO, Turkey's President Abdullah Gul has reported, according to an article at the weekend from World Bulletin.
Leaders of ECO-member countries gathered in Istanbul for a one-day summit meeting during which Turkey assumed the rotating term presidency from Iran. Iraq, as well as Qatar and Syria participated in the ECO summit as guest countries.
The meeting was attended by delegations of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Republic of Tajikistan, the Republic of Turkey, Turkmenistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan. The representatives of ECO Specialized Agencies and Regional Institutions also participated in the meeting. Also, present in the meeting were the representatives of the Turkish Cypriot State, Developing 8 (D-8), International Road Union (IRU) and Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (BSEC).
Turkish President said that all ECO-member countries have welcomed Iraq's bid.
"I hope Iraq will become a member," told a press conference following the summit.
ECO was co-founded by Turkey, Iran and Pakistan in 1985 in a bid to develop economic, technical and cultural cooperation between member countries. In 1992, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan joined the organization.
President Gul also said that Azerbaijan applied to ECO secretariat to be a part of ECO Trade & Development Bank which he said was a major dynamo of economic activities within ECO zone. Istanbul-based bank, which was founded by Turkey, Pakistan and Iran, has a paid-in capital of 230 million USD.
Gul said the bank would finance an number of important projects and added that Asian Development Bank and Islamic Development Bank had plans to be partners with ECO Bank.
(Source: World Bulletin, ECO)