On 23-24 June, 2016, the capital city of the Republic of Uzbekistan Tashkent hosted the sixteenth meeting of the Council of Heads of Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (CHS SCO) on the 15th anniversary of establishment of the SCO.
The meeting of the CHS SCO was attended by President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping, President of the Kyrgyz Republic Almazbek Atambayev, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov.
President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov chaired the meeting.
The SCO Secretary General Rashid Alimov and Director of the Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) of the SCO Yevgeniy Sysoyev participated in the meeting.
The heads of delegations of the SCO observer states - President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Ashraf Gani, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, Prime Minister of the Republic of India Narendra Modi, President of Mongolia Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif and the guest of the presiding state - President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov also attended and addressed the meeting.
UN Under-Secretary-General Jeffrey Feltman, Chairman of the Executive Committee - Executive Secretary of the Commonwealth of Independent States Sergey Lebedev, Secretary General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization Nikolay Bordyuzha, ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh and Executive Director of the Secretariat of Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building measures in Asia Gong Jianwei were also present.
The Heads of State discussed in a constructive and friendly atmosphere the main results of the 15 years-long activity of the SCO and exchanged views on a wide range of issues of the situation in the world and in the region.
The Heads of State noted that the SCO has consolidated as a significant and influential player in the international arena. The priority tasks of practical activity of the Organization, as well as common approaches of the Heads of State towards regional and international issues are reflected in the Tashkent Declaration of the Fifteenth Anniversary of the SCO signed at the summit.
The Heads of State have once again reaffirmed that the SCO is open for accession by interested states which meet the criteria and conditions contained in normative legal documents of the Organization. Signing of memoranda on obligations of the Republic of India and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to obtain the SCO member state status at the Tashkent summit is an important stage in the process of expanding the SCO.
The Heads of State noted that obtaining the full member status by India and Pakistan shall increase the potential of the Organization and contribute to the further enhancement of its role in the international arena as a multilateral mechanism for addressing the urgent problems of contemporary time, ensuring security, stability and sustainable development in the region and the world as a whole.
The Heads of State welcomed the signing of memoranda on granting the SCO Dialogue Partner status to the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Armenia, the Kingdom of Cambodia and Nepal.
The Heads of State reaffirmed that the activity of the SCO is not directed against other states or international organizations. Member States stand ready to develop contacts and cooperation with other countries, international and regional organizations that share the goals and objectives enshrined in the Charter of the SCO and other fundamental documents of the Organization.
The Heads of State welcomed the beginning of the practical implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue, the successful implementation of which will contribute to the expansion of international cooperation for peace, security and stability in the region and beyond.
The Heads of State called for the continuation of improvement of the mechanism of regular consultations with the observer states and dialogue partners in order to enhance the practical results of cooperation in various fields.
The Heads of State noted the importance of further expansion of international contacts of the SCO, development of cooperation with international and regional organizations, above all with the UN and its institutions. Member States shall continue the development of external relations of the SCO and consider the expediency of establishing contacts with other interested multilateral organizations.
It was noted that all preconditions are in place now to elevate the SCO to a qualitatively new level of cooperation, characterized by increasing the efficiency of cooperation in the spheres of politics, security, economy, development of cultural and humanitarian ties. In this regard, adoption of the Action Plan 2016-2020 for the implementation of the SCO Development Strategy towards 2025 has a special significance.
The Heads of State noted the importance of enhancement of the mechanisms of global governance on the basis of objectives and principles of the UN Charter, establishment of fair and equitable world order to strengthen the political and economic stability.
The Heads of State reaffirmed commitment of the SCO Member States to further strengthening the central coordinating role of the UN in international relations, which must be based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and international law. They stood for continuation of extensive consultations in search of a “package solution” for reforming the UN Security Council in order to improve transparency and effectiveness of this body, guided by the interests of ensuring the unity of the UN Member States, without setting artificial timelines and expediting the options which do not enjoy a broad support of the UN Member States.
The Heads of State emphasized that international terrorism and extremism, including its religious and other manifestations, now pose equally growing threat to all countries of the world and human civilization as a whole. They are convinced that these challenges may only be countered by increasing joint struggle and common consolidated efforts of the international community on the implementation of comprehensive measures in order to address their root causes.
The Heads of State reaffirmed that, in accordance with the provisions of the SCO Charter and other documents of the SCO, development and implementation of measures for the joint struggle against terrorism, separatism and extremism in all their manifestations, illicit drug production and trafficking, illegal smuggling of arms, ammunition and explosives, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery shall remain among priorities of cooperation within the framework of the Organization.
The Heads of State called for the early adoption of the UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism and emphasized the importance of creation of an effective platform of extensive cooperation in countering the challenges and threats to regional security.
The Heads of State noted the importance of arrangements on security cooperation achieved at the Tashkent summit.
The Heads of State supported the further close cooperation in the fight against terrorism, separatism and extremism, spread of extremist ideology, primarily among youth, as well as for the prevention of ethnic, racial, religious intolerance and xenophobia.
In this connection, in accordance with the decision of the CHS SCO dated July 10, 2015, the work shall continue on the preparation of the SCO Convention on Combating Extremism, which will contribute to strengthening the legal framework for cooperation in this field along with the implementation of the Shanghai Convention on Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism and the Cooperation Program of SCO Member States in Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism for 2016-2018.
Combating cross-border organized crime, crimes with the use of modern information and communication technologies, strengthening border security, joint fight against illegal migration and human trafficking, money laundering, financing of terrorism and economic crimes remain among urgent directions of the activity of the SCO. In this regard, the importance of practical implementation of the provisions of the Agreement between the Governments of SCO Member States on Cooperation in Combating Crime dated June 11, 2010 has been noted.
The Heads of State have highly assessed the work of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure of the SCO in ensuring the coordination of interaction between the competent authorities of Member States in terms of implementation of the agreements in the fight against terrorism, separatism and extremism and called for further development of cooperation in this area.
The Heads of State noted the need to intensify joint efforts to create a peaceful, safe, fair and open information space based on the principles of cooperation and respect for national sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries. The importance of deepening practical cooperation in the framework of the SCO Intergovernmental Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of International Information Security dated June 16, 2009 was emphasized.
The Heads of State noted that the global economy is still suffering from the effects of the global financial and economic crisis, which led to reduction in aggregate demand, sharp price fluctuations on key commodity and raw material markets, slowdown in economic growth and other negative consequences. It was emphasized that in order to counter the continuing threats and challenges, all countries should strive for a profound transformation of the global economy through large-scale, structural changes, diversification and improving competitiveness of economies and innovative development on a long-term basis.
The Heads of State noted that a significant potential for trade and economic relations and investment cooperation within the SCO framework, accumulated during 15 years-long activity of the Organization, provides for positive trends in the development of regional economic cooperation and promotes the improvement of cooperation mechanisms.
They believe that harmonious development in the SCO area meets the interests of balanced economic growth in the region as a whole. In this regard, the coordinated actions shall be taken for further expansion of mutually beneficial trade and economic cooperation within the Organization, including through the creation of favorable conditions for trade, mutual investments and cooperation between business communities.
The Heads of State reaffirmed the importance of practical implementation of the agreements set forth in the Statement of Heads of Government (Prime Ministers) of the SCO Member States on Regional Economic Cooperation, adopted in Zhengzhou on December 15, 2015.
In these conditions, Member States shall seek the pairing of national development strategies and strengthen the coordination of their economic and trade programs. The Heads of State believe it is important to adopt the measures to ensuring sustainable socio-economic growth and improving the welfare and living standards of the population, further strengthening of cooperation in the spheres of trade, industry, finance, investments, agriculture, customs, telecommunications, including the use of satellite navigation systems, and other spheres of mutual interest.
Special attention shall be paid to the exchange of experience for effectively countering the economic slowdown, introducing innovative technologies, forming the favorable investment and business climate, implementing long-term mutually beneficial projects in the priority areas of cooperation and development of infrastructure.
The Heads of State reaffirmed the support for the initiative of the People's Republic of China on the creation of the Silk Road Economic Belt. For these purposes, the work shall continue to implement this project as one of the tools of creation of favorable conditions for the development of regional economic cooperation.
The Heads of State noted the importance of continuing the mutually beneficial multifaceted cooperation in the energy sphere, including in the field of renewable and alternative energy sources.
The Heads of State emphasized the need to promote multilateral cooperation in transport sector and facilitate the formation of international transport corridors, which must become a connecting link between Asia and Europe, implement joint infrastructure projects providing for the expansion of economically justified transport and communication opportunities and fulfill the transit potential of the region. In this context, the importance of the early entering into force and implementation of the Agreement between the Governments of SCO Member States on Establishing Favorable Conditions for International Road Transport (Dushanbe, 12 September 2014) has been noted.
The Heads of State supported the practical implementation of specific projects of common interest, reflected in the Action Plan for implementation of the Program for Multilateral Cooperation in Trade and Economy of the SCO Member States, as well as on the preparation of the List of events for further development of project activities within the SCO framework for 2017- 2021.
The Heads of State called for the further expansion of mutually beneficial cooperation with the observer countries and dialogue partners in order to increase the capacity of joint activities within the SCO. In this regard, a great importance is attached to comprehensively fulfilling the potential of the SCO Business Council and the SCO Interbank Association.
In order to provide financial support to project activities, Member States shall continue the consideration of the issue of establishment of the SCO Development Bank and the SCO Development Fund (Special Account).
The Heads of State believe it is necessary to pay special attention to the development of bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the spheres of public health, science and technology, education, environment protection, sports, tourism, study and preservation of cultural and natural heritage of the SCO region, including along the ‘Great Silk Road’.
With the view of enhancing cooperation in the field of tourism, forming a common tourist space, intensifying tourist exchanges, the authorized representatives of Member States signed the Program of Cooperation of SCO Member States in the tourism sector.
The reports of the SCO Secretary General on the activities of the Organization during the past year and the RATS Council on the work of the structure in 2015 have been heard and approved.
During the past period since the meeting of the CHS SCO (Ufa, July 9-10, 2015), the following meetings have been held: Meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of SCO Member States (Zhengzhou, December 14-15, 2015), Meeting of the Secretaries of Security Councils (Tashkent, April 13-14, 2016), Meeting of the Council of Ministers Foreign Affairs (Tashkent, May 23-24, 2016), Meeting the Council of National Coordinators (Beijing, Tashkent, October 2015 - June 2016), Meeting of the RATS Council (Tashkent, September 18, 2015 and April 8, 2016), Meeting of the Ministers of Justice (Dushanbe, August 18, 2015), Meeting of General Prosecutors (Astana, August 27m 2015), Meeting of Chairpersons of the Supreme Courts (Bishkek, September 3-6, 2015), Economic and Trade Ministers' Meeting (Xi'an, September 16, 2015 ), Meeting of Heads of Emergency Prevention and Relief Agencies (Chengdu, November 11-12, 2015), XI Meeting of the SCO Forum (Dushanbe, April 28-29, 2016), Meeting of the Heads of Supreme Audit Institutions (Astana, May 27, 2016), Meeting of Defense Ministers (Astana, June 8, 2016), Meeting of the Ministers of Culture (Tashkent, June 21-22, 2016), Meetings of the Board of the SCO Business Council and the Council of the SCO Interbank Association (Tashkent, June 22-23 2016).
Member States have highly praised the presidency of the Republic of Uzbekistan in the SCO and expressed gratitude to the Uzbek side for the traditional warm hospitality extended during the Tashkent summit.
The next meeting of the Council of Heads of Member States of the SCO will be held in June 2017 in Astana. The Republic of Kazakhstan shall take over the presidency in the Organization for the upcoming period.