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ECONOMIC COOPERATION ORGANIZATION (ECO)

ECONOMIC COOPERATION ORGANIZATION (ECO) In 1985, Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey decided to essentially revive the Regional Cooperation for Development (RCD) which had been in place from 1964 to 1979 but had been disbanded after the Islamic revolution in Iran Rather than retain the original name and structure of the RCD, the three countries decided to establish the Economic Cooperation Organization Seven years after its creation, the ECO invited seven Muslim countries from Central Asia-Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan-to join the organization The organization has a secretariat located in Tehran, Iran The Council of Ministers is the highest policy-making body and is made up of the foreign ministers of the member countries Some of the projects being implemented by the organization include trade facilitation An initiative launched in 2002 and funded by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) aims to “establish a regional agreement on trade between member states incorporating optimal and harmonized tariff and transit fee systems and reduced non-tariff barriers” The eighth summit of the organization was held on 14 September 2004 at Dushanbe, Tajikistan, and was attended by, among others, President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, President Mohammad Khatami of Iran, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz of Pakistan, and Prime Minister Reap Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey After the meeting, the group issued the Dushanbe Declaration, calling for the establishment of a free trade area by 2015 and the early ratification and implementation of the Transit Transport Framework Agreement (TTFA)



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