Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)
Press release on the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation
The meeting was attended by Foreign Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Yerlan Idrisov, Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China Wang Yi, Foreign Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic Erlan Abdyldayev, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Tajikistan Sirojiddin Aslov, and Foreign Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan Abdulaziz Kamilov.
SCO Secretary-General Rashid Alimov and Director of the Executive Committee of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure Yevgeny Sysoyev also took part in the meeting.
As part of the preparations for the meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State due to be held in Tashkent on June 23-24, 2016, the ministers discussed the current state of and prospects for promoting cooperation in different areas of the organisation’s activities and for enhancing its role and stance in international and regional affairs. It was stressed that over 15 years since its inception the SCO, based on the “spirit of Shanghai,” which embodies mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, mutual consultations, respect for the diversity of cultures and a goal to develop jointly, has asserted itself as an influential member of the modern system of international relations. The participants confirmed their common commitment to consolidate the SCO line in the international arena, one that excludes bloc and confrontational approaches to solving the existing regional and international problems and is not directed against other states and international organisations.
The participants exchanged views on the implementation of the resolutions adopted by the meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State, which was held in Ufa on July 9-10, 2015. The ministers noted that in the period since the Ufa summit, much work had been done to further improve SCO activities and to intensify fruitful political, security, economic and humanitarian cooperation within the organisation. They pointed to the importance of approving a Plan of Action to implement the SCO Development Strategy towards 2025, which would be submitted to the SCO Council of Heads of State for approval.
The ministers decided to suggest that the Council of Heads of State consider the signing of memoranda on the commitments of the Republic of India and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan for the purpose of their obtaining the status of SCO member-states.
The ministers noted the need for a broader involvement of the SCO observer states and the SCO dialogue partners in practical cooperation within the organisation. They called for further efforts to improve the mechanism of regular consultations with the observer states and the dialogue partners with the purpose of expanding the practical effect of cooperation in various areas.
The ministers confirmed that in accordance with the Charter and other SCO documents, developing and implementing measures for the joint fight against all forms of terrorism, separatism, and extremism, illegal drug production and trafficking, trans-border organised crime, crimes with the use of modern information technology, illegal migration and human trafficking, illegal trafficking in arms, ammunition and explosives, and proliferation of mass destruction weapons and their delivery vehicles would remain a priority in cooperation within the organisation.
The ministers stressed the importance of continued efforts to implement the SCO Heads of State Council’s decision of July 10, 2015, which called for drafting an SCO convention to fight extremism in order to strengthen the existing legal framework, which already includes the Shanghai Convention on Combatting Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism and the SCO Programme of Cooperation in the Fight Against Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism for 2016-2018.
The ministers pointed out the need to focus international efforts on developing universal rules of responsible conduct in the information space, formalising the principles of respect for state sovereignty, non-interference in one another’s internal affairs, peaceful conflict settlement, and respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms. The ministers hope to continue productive discussions on this issue within the framework of the new UN Group of Governmental Experts (UN GGE) on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security.
The ministers reaffirmed the intention of the SCO member states to cooperate in the sphere of Internet governance, proceeding from the need to internationalise this process and to ensure equal rights for all countries to participate in this process and their sovereign right to govern the national Internet segment.
The ministers emphasised the need to further develop the SCO’s international ties and to deepen cooperation with international and regional partner organisations.
They exchanged opinions on current regional and international issues, basic development trends and the strengthening of regional security and stability.
The ministers made note of the need to improve global governance mechanisms based on the goals and principles of the UN Charter and to continue efforts to create a fair and equal world order aimed at strengthening political and economic stability.
They reaffirmed the SCO member states’ commitment to consistently strengthen the central role of the UN in international relations, which must be based on international law, including the goals and principles of the UN Charter. This primarily refers to joint efforts to maintain global stability and security, promote international cooperation, independence, equality and the right of nations to choose governments and development paths, mutual respect for one another’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-aggression, non-interference in one another’s internal affairs, peaceful settlement of international disputes, non-use of force or threat of force, compliance with the universally recognised UN principles and standards in the fight against terrorism, separatism and extremism, as well as other types of crime, challenges and threats.
The ministers called for the early adoption of the proposed UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism and for creating an effective venue of broad cooperation to counter regional security threats and challenges.
The ministers are convinced that this evil can be only defeated and routed by redoubling joint efforts, developing measures to deal with the symptoms and the roots of the problem and consolidating the efforts of the international community on the firm foundation of international law and coordinated comprehensive approaches.
They stressed the need to coordinate policies for fighting terrorism and to develop cooperation with international and regional organisations, SCO observer countries and dialogue partners, as well as other countries, with the purpose of creating conditions for boosting counterterrorism cooperation under new realities.
The ministers called for strengthening the UN’s leading role in maintaining international peace and security and for continuing broad consultations on a package solution to the issue of reforming the UN Security Council in order to enhance its transparency and efficiency in the interests of consolidating the UN member countries without setting any temporal limits or enforcing scenarios that do not enjoy broad supported from the UN member countries.
The ministers pointed out that the early restoration of peace and stability in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is vital for maintaining and strengthening regional security. They expressed support for the settlement of the internal Afghan conflict based on an inclusive national reconciliation process, saying that these efforts must be taken by Afghans and under the guidance of Afghans. The UN must play the key role in coordinating international efforts in Afghanistan.
The ministers reaffirmed the importance of finding a political solution to the Ukraine crisis based on faithful implementation of the Minsk Agreements signed on February 12, 2015.
The ministers expressed belief that crises in the Middle East and North Africa must be settled on the basis of universally recognised principles of international law and mutual respect for one another’s interests through a broad political dialogue between all parties to conflicts.
The ministers reaffirmed the need to preserve unity, sovereignty, territorial integrity and stability in Syria and pointed out that a peaceful settlement of the crisis was the only solution that would enable the Syrian people to freely decide their future in the UN-sponsored political process in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2254.
The ministers pointed out the importance of close cooperation on issues of arms control and disarmament, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The expressed belief that the early ratification by each party of the safeguards protocol to the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty will greatly contribute to the strengthening of the global non-proliferation regime.
The ministers reaffirmed their countries’ commitment to maintaining law and order on the sea based on the principles of international law, in particular, those sealed in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. All disputes in this sphere are to be settled peacefully through amicable talks and agreements between the parties concerned, without any effort to internationalise these disputes and without external interference. In this context, the ministers called for strict compliance with all provisions of the above mentioned convention, the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and the guidelines for the implementation of this declaration.
The ministers welcomed the beginning of the practical implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) regarding Iran’s nuclear programme as a vital step in the further development of international cooperation in the interests of strengthening security and stability in the region and the rest of the world.
The ministers believe that the unilateral, unlimited build-up of ballistic missile defence systems by any country or a group of countries without due regard for the interests of other countries can damage international and regional security and stability. They strongly believe that it is unacceptable to try to ensure one’s security at the expense of other countries’ security.
The ministers approved the drafts of the Tashkent Declaration on the 15th anniversary of the SCO and the information statement on the results of the SCO Heads of State Council meeting, as well as a report on the SCO Secretariat’s performance last year presented by SCO General Secretary Rashid Alimov. The ministers also listened to a performance report from Yevgeny Sysoyev, Director of the Executive Committee of the SCO’s Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure.
The ministers also approved decisions on issues of the SCO’s operation and the upcoming meeting of the SCO Heads of State Council in Tashkent.
The ministers highly assessed the efforts of Uzbekistan’s SCO Presidency to prepare for the SCO Heads of State Council’s meeting in Tashkent.
The ministerial meeting was held in an atmosphere of friendship and mutual understanding, which is intrinsic to existing relations between the SCO member states.