1101 GMT April 10, 2021
The top Iranian diplomat, who had traveled to Kazakhstan, delivered a speech to the 19th meeting of the Council of Ministers of the D-8 Organization for Economic Cooperation, known as Developing-8, held via a videoconference on Wednesday, Tasnim News Agency reported.
In his online speech, given from the Iranian Embassy in Nur-Sultan, Zarif emphasized the necessity for collective cooperation to cope with the challenges as the D-8 Decennial Roadmap is being finalized.
What follows is the text of his speech:
Allow me to express my sincere gratitude to you and the Government of Bangladesh for excellent arrangements for this meeting. We are also grateful to distinguished Secretary General and his team.
Distinguished Fellow Ministers,
The international community is still facing the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19 pandemic. For Iran, the challenge has been compounded by a barbaric economic terrorism against the great Iranian nation, a grave crime against humanity.
Much as the international community eagerly wants to consign coronavirus to the dustbin of history, the pandemic has taught us some valuable lessons. We learned that how a health crisis can easily lead to an economic crisis, a humanitarian crisis, an education crisis, a food security crisis, an inequality crisis (to name a few), leaving a disproportionate toll on developing and least developed countries.
Concurrently, we also learned how a global crisis can unleash the blessings of solidarity among nations. Let me seize this opportunity to value support the Islamic Republic of Iran received from our brotherly D-8 countries during the time of pandemic and amid unlawful and cruel sanctions.
Another lesson we have learned is that the enhanced cooperation among countries and regions is the optimal choice should the international community wish to set the stage for shared challenges that loom ahead. Multilateral machineries, including the D-8, provide us with a pool of choices to make.
I am not going to elaborate on the shared challenges ahead of us. Rather, I would like to focus on decisive choices we can collectively make within the D-8 existing and potential frameworks for cooperation. This is also very important and pertinent as we are about to finalize the D-8 Decennial Roadmap.
1. Trade: The target of 20 percent intra-D8 trade by 2030 will be in our reach if the existing preferential trade agreement along with some supplemented arrangements (in terms of customs, finance and micro-finance, banking, digital capacities, etc.) are implemented. Our governments shall take the role of enabler and our private sectors and SMEs shall be taken on board.
2. Connectivity: Notwithstanding the geographical remoteness of some D-8 countries, D-8 can be an inter-connected body of countries. This can be and should be realized in terms of, among others, multimodal transport and port cooperation; cultural affinity and tourism; and business-to-business connectivity.
3. Human and technological capitals: We are grateful to the host country for its vigilance to make “harnessing the power of youth and technology” as the theme of this COM and Summit meetings. Our relevant ministers in charge of youth gathered together this week and discussed ways of cooperation on this issue of great importance to our countries. The Islamic Republic of Iran has been active in two D-8 human and technological related programs. We are hosting the ‘D-8 International University' in Hamedan as well as the ‘D-8 Technology Transfer and Exchange Network' in Tehran. We welcome any idea to enhance these two initiatives.
To conclude Mr. Chairman, let me reiterate again our full support of collective work to realize the D-8 noble goals and objectives.
I thank you for your attention.