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On the invitation of the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi visited Moscow to attend the Council of Foreign Ministers of SCO Member States (SCO-CFM) on 9-10 September 2020.


The SCO-CFM is the highest forum of SCO after the Council of Heads of State (CHS) and the Council of Heads of Government (CHG). It deliberates on important regional and international issues and considers documents for approval and adoption by the CHS.


The Foreign Minister participated in the Plenary Session of the SCO-CFM today, which was chaired by the Russian Foreign Minister and attended by Foreign Ministers of all member states.


In his remarks during the meeting, the Foreign Minister said that the COVID-19 pandemic had underscored the imperative of working together against common threats and challenges. The crisis also presented an opportunity for showcasing the real potential of SCO in fostering regional cooperation. The Foreign Minister offered to share Pakistan’s experience with other member states in combating the pandemic in an effective manner. He also lauded China’s very effective handling of the crisis and underscored the significance of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s “Global Initiative for Debt Relief” for developing countries to mitigate adverse economic repercussions of the pandemic.


The Foreign Minister stressed that in the evolving situation in the international politics, cooperation and not confrontation should be the driving force. He reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to the Shanghai Spirit and the central role of the United Nations in maintaining international peace and security and advancing global development. He also reaffirmed the necessity to reform the UN Security Council through consensus to make it more representative, democratic, effective and accountable.


The Foreign Minister highlighted the importance of faithful implementation of UN Security Council resolutions as a pre-requisite for achieving socio-economic progress. He called for strong condemnation and opposition of unilateral and illegal measures to change the status of disputed territories in violation of UNSC resolutions.


Underscoring centrality of peaceful and stable Afghanistan for peace and stability in the region, the Foreign Minister reiterated Pakistan’s support for a peace and reconciliation process that is Afghan-led and Afghan-owned. He called upon the Afghan stakeholders to seize the historic opportunity created by the US-Taliban Peace Agreement to secure an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement. He warned against the role of “spoilers” both within and outside Afghanistan. He stressed that the return of Afghan refugees to their homeland with dignity and honor should be an essential part of the peace negotiations.


The Foreign Minister called for condemnation and accountability of perpetrators of state terrorism against people under illegal occupation in disputed territories. It was unacceptable to allow any country to use terrorism related allegations as a political tool to malign and victimize any country, religion or race. On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of victory in the Second World War, the Foreign Minister underscored the importance of opposing all extremist and xenophobic ideologies including Islamophobia.


The Foreign Minister highlighted the importance of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in SCO’s vision of regional connectivity and economic integration. He emphasized that regional development projects, including BRI and CPEC, should not be viewed through myopic geo-political angles and should be given full support.


Referring to the importance of focusing on socio-economic development in the region, the Foreign Minister highlighted Pakistan’s proposal to establish an SCO Joint Working Group and SCO Centre of Excellence on Poverty Alleviation and thanked the member states for supporting the initiative.


The Foreign Minister recommended: (i) working together in SCO to address the resurgence of fascist ideologies and violent nationalism anywhere in the world especially in our region; (ii) focusing on promoting regional connectivity projects and pursuing them wholeheartedly; (iii) pooling SCO’s scientific and technical resources to carry out joint research in diverse fields, foremost with an objective to find an effective vaccine for the COVID-19 virus and make it accessible to all as a global public good; and (iv) working together to project SCO as an effective forum for regional development and a new kind of international organization based on the ideals of “Shanghai spirit”.


The Moscow SCO-CFM considered and referred more than 20 documents for approval and adoption during SCO-CHS to be held later this year.


On the sidelines of the SCO-CFM Meeting, The Foreign Minister also held bilateral meetings with several of his counterparts from other SCO member states.



10 September 2020

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