Leaders of the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) adopted a joint declaration following a meeting of the SCO Heads of State Council in Bishkek on FridayMOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 14th June, 2019) Leaders of the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) adopted a joint declaration following a meeting of the SCO Heads of State Council in Bishkek on Friday.
The presidents of the SCO countries - Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan - met in the Kyrgyz capital to discuss cooperation among SCO member states, common threats and challenges, as well as topical international issues, including the situation in Afghanistan and the Middle East.
The declaration, issued at the end of the meeting, warned that although the global balance of forces was changing and new development centers emerging in Asia, the process of economic globalization was undermined by the growing unilateral protectionist policies.
In the declaration, SCO member states pledged to continue cooperating on disarmament, arms control, non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and peaceful use of nuclear energy.
"The Member States reaffirm that unilateral and unlimited build-up of missile defense systems by countries or groups of states jeopardize international security and destabilize the situation in the world. They believe the attempts to provide one's own security at the expense of other states' security to be unacceptable," the declaration read.
According to the document, growing challenges and cross-border security threats, such as terrorism, the spread of extremist ideology, returning foreign terrorist fighters, the risk of arms race, unsettled regional conflicts, drug trafficking and cybercrime, require close coordination among world countries.
"The Member States state the importance of keeping outer space free from all types of weapons as well as the crucial importance of strict compliance with the current legal system, which provides for exclusively peaceful uses of outer space," the declaration says.
The SCO countries said they would continue defense and security cooperation, including ensuring safety at large-scale events and personnel training to increase capabilities of the SCO member states' armed forces.
"The SCO, as an influential and responsible participant in the modern system of international relations, will enhance its participation in efforts to ensure peace and security, consistently advocating the resolution of international and regional conflicts by exclusively peaceful political and diplomatic means, based on the principles of equality, respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, the non-use of force or the threat of force," the declaration noted.
The SCO countries' leaders condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and called on the international community to promote global cooperation on fighting terrorism, with the United Nations playing the central role.
"The Member States are actively and persistently countering international terrorism, separatism and extremism, transnational organized crime, illegal trade in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors, as well as weapons, munitions and explosives, threats to biological and information security and illegal migration. They advocate further improvement of the legal and regulatory framework for cooperation in these areas," the declaration read.
The SCO countries also stressed the need to launch multilateral talks on creating an international convention to respond to the threat of chemical and biological terrorism.
"The Member States, stressing that acts of terrorism and extremism cannot be justified, believe it important to take comprehensive measures to intensify efforts against terrorism and its ideology ... They note that interfering in other countries' domestic affairs under the pretext of fighting terrorism and extremism as well as using terrorist, extremist and radical groups to achieve one's own mercenary ends is unacceptable," the document stated.
The SCO also aims to step up international efforts to prevent young people from being involved in the activity of terrorist, extremist and separatist groups.
Stressing the importance of Astana talks on the Syrian settlement, SCO members reaffirmed their common position that dialogue is the only way to resolve the crisis in Syria.
"They believe that interaction within the Astana format created the necessary conditions for implementing UN Security Council Resolution 2254, promoting an inclusive process of political settlement by Syrians themselves and under their leadership in order to search for solutions meeting the interests of the people of the SAR and of the international community," the Bishkek declaration said.
The SCO called on the countries participating in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iranian nuclear deal, to fulfill their obligations to ensure the effective implementation of the pact.
"The Member State believe the consistent implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran's nuclear programme to be a priority and, in compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 2231, call on all the participants to strictly fulfill their obligations for the comprehensive and effective implementation of the document," the declaration said.
The declaration stressed that settling the Afghan crisis was one of the key factors allowing to ensure security in the SCO space.
The SCO countries' leaders expressed their support for the Afghan government in restoring peace and fighting terrorism, extremism and drug crime in the country.
"The Member States stress that there is no alternative to settling the conflict in Afghanistan through political dialogue and an inclusive peace process conducted and led by Afghans themselves, and urge to step up cooperation of all the nations concerned and international organization, with the central coordinating role of the UN, for the stabilization and development of that country," according to the declaration.
The SCO countries reaffirmed their commitment to fighting climate change and welcomed agreements reached at the 24th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change that took place in Poland's Katowice last year.
"The Member States, in view of the importance of preserving environmental balance in the SCO space and restoring biodiversity for future generations, ensuring favorable conditions for the well-being of the people and for sustainable development, welcome the signing of the Action Plan on implementing the Concept of Cooperation in Environmental Protection," the Bishkek declaration said.
They also expressed concern over the widespread consequences of the desiccation of the Aral Sea, lying between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, noting the importance of promoting interaction with the UN, as well as countries and institutions interested in solving this problem.
The declaration noted the SCO member states were working on the establishment of the SCO Development Foundation and SCO Development Bank, and were in favor of expanding the use of national currencies in SCO trade.
"In this respect, the development of the draft Road Map to increase the share of national currencies in mutual settlements between the SCO Member States will be continued," the declaration said.
They also stressed the importance of improving the architecture of global economic governance through the "consistent strengthening of the multilateral trading system based on the rules and regulations of the World Trade Organization (WTO)."
The SCO members also spoke against all forms of trade protectionism, stressing that they undermined the multilateral trade system.
The SCO countries vowed to counter the use of information and communication technology to undermine political, economic and public security, and curb terrorist and extremist propaganda online.
"They oppose discriminatory measures imposed under any pretext, which impede the progress of digital economy and communications technology. They deem it necessary to work out universal rules, principles and standards of responsible behavior in the information space, and will actively cooperate in this area in order to ensure information security in the SCO space," the declaration said.
The member states welcomed the adoption at the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly of resolutions on international security and developments in the field of information, as well as on countering the use of information for criminal purposes.
"[SCO countries] call on all UN Member States to continue cooperation to elaborate the rules of responsible behavior of states in the information space and a universal, legally binding document to counter the use of information and communications technology for criminal purposes," the document noted.
There are also four observer countries at the SCO Mongolia, Iran, Belarus and Afghanistan and six dialogue partners Sri Lanka, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia and Nepal.