Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Mr. Sartaj Aziz who represented Pakistan at the Meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Council of Heads of State, which was attended by Presidents of Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Russian Federation, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Mongolia and Turkmenistan and Foreign Minister of India.
The full text of Adviser’s speech on the above occasion is as under:
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to be here today in this beautiful city of Dushanbe to address this august gathering of leaders and representatives of SCO States, Observers and Dialogue Partners. I would first of all like to thank the President of Tajikistan, H.E. Mr. EmomaliRahmon, for hosting this event and providing exceptional hospitality to me and my delegation.
I would also like to commend Secretary General SCO, H.E. Mr. Dmitry Fedorovich Mezentsev, for his contribution in organizing this important Summit.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is an important regional bloc comprising energy producers, consumers, and transit countries. It covers an area of over 30 million square km and houses half the world’s population. Since the establishment of SCO, its influence in the region has increased, and also its interactions with states and multilateral organizations. It has shown that diversity among the group’s members has become an advantage that promotes greater cooperation in order to overcome differences and work for a common agenda.
The region today is threatened by the “Three Evils” of terrorism, separatism, and extremism. Over the past decade, the international community has identified global terrorism as a major threat to peace, security, and stability. Unfortunately, this threat has become more serious since the last SCO Summit in Bishkek last year. Therefore, a major challenge is to intensify counter-terrorism efforts at national and regional levels, to ensure that the delicate balance between security and personal freedoms is maintained. For this we need to, first, evolve the political will to combat the menace of terrorism through concerted action. Second, we need to strengthen the Regional Anti Terrorism Structure (RATS) established under the umbrella of SCO. Finally, we must facilitate greater cooperation between SCO Member and Observer States in the areas of information and intelligence sharing. We also support the proposal of President Xi Jinping of China to include drug trafficking as a priority area for SCO.
Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed establishing a Silk Road Economic Belt during his visit to Kazakhstan last year. President Xi’s initiative represents a grand blueprint for deepening cooperation among Eurasian countries in the new era. The initiative of the Silk Road Economic Belt will be a logical culmination of the shared legacy of friendship and cooperation among the countries along the ancient Silk Road. In its present manifestation, the Silk Road Economic Belt would provide impetus to the development of these countries, and serve the interests of the region as a whole. By promoting greater economic cooperation and increased people-to-people contacts, the Silk Road Economic Belt would link different regions in Eurasia, will improve connectively, facilitate the convergence of interests, and enhance development opportunities to achieve common progress.
In the years to come, historians may look back at the proposal for the Silk Road Economic Belt as the historic moment when SCO Member and Observer States first translated their vision for economic connectivity into practical and result-oriented cooperation.
Pakistan strongly supports this Chinese initiative and is already working closely with China to build an Economic Corridor linking Pakistan with western China. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will be a natural force multiplier for SCO’s efforts for greater regional connectivity and economic integration.
SCO is an evolving institution. Apart from six full Member States, the organization has five Observer States and three Dialogue Partners. Since the Tashkent Summit of 2009 where SCO adopted its rules for acceptance of new members, the organization has further developed its institutional and has finalized a Memorandum of Obligations and their requirement for being full member.
Pakistan is keenly interested in full membership and was, in fact, one of the first observer states to formally apply for SCO membership in 2010. We strongly reiterate our desire to become full member of this organization. This will coincide with our major foreign policy objectives. Trade and Economic cooperation are also areas of interest for Pakistan since Central Asia holds great promise for regional and global trade. Pakistan’s aims of enhancing internal and external security also coincide with SCO’s aims. Pakistan would endeavor to gain from the experience of SCO members to address these issues. Pakistan is keen to participate in future counter-terrorism strategies as well as intelligence sharing cooperation. We are certain that our experience in combating terrorism and drug trafficking would add value to such exchanges.
The policies and programs of the SCO are in fully in line with Pakistan’s immediate and long-term objectives. The SCO would provide an ideal forum for Pakistan to contribute to peace and stability in South Asia, Afghanistan, and Central Asia. Together, we can finally eradicate the evils of terrorism, extremism and separatism from the region, while fostering trust and confidence in the region.
Pakistan would remain committed to playing a more robust role in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”
Last modified: November 21, 2019
Our foreign policy is one of friendliness and goodwill towards all the nations of the world.