Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana has hosted Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Heads of State session on June 14-15.
Program of SCO summit on June 15 started with meeting at the Independence Palace in Astana. President Nursultan Nazarbaev of the Republic of Kazakhstan, President Hu Jintao of the People’s Republic of China, President Roza Otunbaeva of Kyrgyz Republic, President Dmitriy Medvedev of the Russian Federation, President Emomali Rahmon of the Republic of Tajikistan and President Islam Karimov of the Republic of Uzbekistan took part in the session.
The heads of member states extensively exchanged views on the current state and prospective directions of interaction within SCO along with pressing issues of regional and international politics.
Keeping with the established tradition in SCO summits, the session continued in extended format that included also the heads of observer nations, namely, President of Iran Mahmud Ahmadinejad, President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari, Minister of External Affairs of India S.M. Krishna, head of Mongolian President’s administration Battulga Dashzhamts, President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai (invited as a guest by the chair country), as well as representatives of international institutions like the UN, CIS, CSTO.
Participants of the session voiced their visions with regard to ways of advancing the cooperation in SCO realm, with a special consideration attached to regional agenda, events in the world, and the situation in Afghanistan in particular.
Assessing SCO’s activity for the past ten years, President Islam Karimov noted the Organization has come to be considered an influential international structure for a relatively short period of time span, if historically measured.
A robust normative and institutional base has been created within the establishment, its structural bodies have been steadily functioning, consistent expansion and intensification of cooperation in political, economic and humanitarian spheres has been secured, transport and communications ties have been consolidating. All of this suggests an open character of the Organization willing for dialogue with all the interested countries and international institutions.
“In this respect, I would especially like to point out the following factors facilitating the growth in SCO’s international standing,” Islam Karimov said.
“First and foremost, building on its underlying founding principles, the SCO makes itself known as a reliable guarantor of preserving stability and security in the region, a critically important task at this point of the rapidly changing and volatile world.
“Second, urgently relevant have been the objectives set out and addressed by the Organization to arrange multilateral productive cooperation in socio-political, socio-economic and humanitarian spheres, shaping a necessary normative and agreement foundation for this and implementing major projects significant for each participating state.
“Third, as an association of nations with equal rights, SCO has manifested clearly that its activities are not directed against interests of other countries, nor is it a confrontation-oriented bloc.”
Speaking of prospects of interaction within the Organization, the head of our state singled out such priorities of its work as keeping with the approved and tested policy course that has strictly adhered to goals, objectives and principles of the Organization’s Charter, realizing principal dimensions of cooperation equally meeting the interests of all the participants of ‘Shanghai Process’.
President Islam Karimov expressed confidence in that the further thriving of SCO will be contingent on the will of member nations to attain tangible results and, above all, secure sustainable development and growth in the wellbeing of population residing in the region’s countries.
Only when the peoples of SCO states do feel the fruits of joint work on concrete examples, will the SCO become even more attractive as an organization.
Uzbekistan advocates materialization of investment projects in SCO region to construct and modernize automotive, railway and air communications both of intrastate and interstate significance, along with establishing modern logistics centers and hubs. Uzbekistan believes their implementation will help advance trade and economic relations of SCO member countries with those of the European Union, South and South-East Asia.
In this vein, Uzbekistan considers important to put into action the proposal of China to institute SCO Development Bank, one that will aim to shape a multilateral mechanism of funding priority socio-economic and infrastructure schemes within the framework of the Organization, to allow for a more effective addressing of common challenges faced by participating nations.
Realization of interstate agreement on establishing Central Asia-Persian Gulf international transport corridor can prove paramount in this regard. The project would in the future help link the SCO expanse with ports of the Persian and Oman Gulfs via land routes.
Evaluating the state of affairs in Central Asia, Uzbekistan’s leader underscored that the region, given its geostrategic significance and abundant natural resources, continues to remain in the spotlight of global community in the context of growing threats and challenges to security and stability in the world.
Ongoing for more than thirty years, the war in Afghanistan is still the most formidable destabilizing factor in the region as much as the wider world. The situation in that country remains distressingly tense despite all the measures being undertaken by the international community.
“Today, no one entertains any doubt that there is no military solution to the Afghan crisis. Basically all leaders of nations across the globe, including those involved in resolving the crisis per se as well as the very military command of Coalition forces in Afghanistan, have adhered to this notion,” head of Uzbek state reiterated.
“We are positively convinced that the problems in that country should be addressed by the Afghan people themselves. Only through a compromise between the confronting parties, by engaging Afghans themselves in this process, and socio-economic reconstruction of Afghanistan backed by the global community, can we find a way out of this deadlock. Uzbekistan spoke about this as early as April 2008 in Bucharest.
“We see Afghanistan’s future as a peaceful and steadily developing country with posing no threat to the surrounding nations, in order for the peoples living in this part of the world to be able, as it used to be in the past, to cash in the opportunities of friendly, mutually advantageous and equal relations. Uzbekistan is going to stick to its policy of good neighborliness and cooperation with regard to Afghanistan in its bilateral interaction, building on shared national interests.”
During the session, the sides noted their approaches to addressing global and regional issues are similar and confirmed willingness to intensify cooperation.
Following the session, a package of documents has been signed aiming at further enhancing the cooperation within SCO. The sides inked Declaration of Decade that includes basic accomplishments made by the SCO in the past period, views of member nations to contemporary affairs in the region and world at large, along with approaches to addressing pressing issues of regional security and bolstering cooperation within SCO in priority dimensions.
Anti-Narcotics Strategy 2011-2016 has also been approved along with the Action Plan to execute it, to facilitate lifting up the efficiency of joint efforts to counter drugs threat in SCO area.
Standard Memorandum on commitments by the applicant state to be granted a status of SCO member nation has been signed in order to regulate the procedure of accession of countries into the Organization based on the Regulations on the Rules of Admitting New Members to the SCO approved during the 2010 Tashkent summit.
Authorized representatives of SCO member states penned an inter-governmental agreement on cooperation in healthcare that provides for interaction in such aspects as prevention and oversight of infectious diseases, safety and quality of medicines, protection of mother and child health, provision of medical assistance in emergency situations and a range of other stipulations.
Revisiting the work of the summit, President Islam Karimov expressed confidence in that “the outcomes of the current candid and constructive exchange of views on issues urgent for us, along with the decisions adopted today concerning cooperation in combating drugs business and SCO expansion, will prove another important stride toward ensuring the security and stability of the Organization’s member countries and to raising the structure’s effectiveness.”
It has been noted during the press conference that followed the negotiations that the remarkable transformation in regional and international politics notwithstanding, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization has for the last ten years withstood with dignity all the tests and proved itself as an essential mechanism for intensification of neighborly, friendly and partnership relations among participating nations.
Chairmanship in the SCO has been passed on to the Chinese side at the summit. Heads of state supported the proposal by the People’s Republic of China to announce the period of its presidency as the Year of Neighborliness and Friendship in SCO area.
That put an end to the eleventh session of SCO Council of Heads of State.