By the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan His Excellency Mr. Sirodjidin Aslov.
Prior to 2014 SCO Summit, the SCO summit was held in Dushanbe in 2008. Six years have passed and over those years the political situation in the world has undergone many changes. The world does not stand still – the processes of globalization affect the international situation, but the threats and challenges that we considered in 2008 are still relevant. For instance, the fight against terrorism, separatism, extremism, illegal drug trafficking and transnational organized crime were among the items on the agenda of 2014 (SCO) Summit.
As is well known, at the last meeting of the Council of Heads of SCO Member States, on 13 September 2013 in Bishkek, the Republic of Tajikistan assumed the chairmanship of the SCO and the SCO Summit in Dushanbe on 12 September 2014 marked the end of Tajikistan’s one-year presidency.
The main goals of Tajikistan during its presidency of the SCO were to intensify cooperation in the field of security and to facilitate mutually beneficial and productive political, economic, cultural and humanitarian cooperation within the SCO.
During its chairmanship Tajikistan, with the active support of its partners, has managed to achieve significant results in some pillars of the SCO.
The SCO chairmanship was held under the motto: “Cooperation, co-development, co-prosperity”. In the framework of our chairmanship we have put in every effort to make this motto reflect maximum practical implementation of the issues that are on current agenda of the Organization. The results of those efforts were the agreements reached and documents adopted at the Summit. In addition, 50 major events in various areas of cooperation have been held during this year.
During the presidency of Tajikistan about ten meetings of the Council of SCO National Coordinators were held in Dushanbe, Tashkent and Beijing, several consultations between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs on the various issues of the Organization took place in Beijing and the 24th meeting of the SCO Regional Antiterrorist Structure was held in Tashkent. The 9th Meeting of the Secretaries of the Security Council, the meeting of Defence Ministers, the Meeting of the Heads of Border Services of the Competent Authorities, the Meeting of the Heads of the Competent Authorities in the sphere of fight against drug trafficking, the Meeting of Ministers of Culture as well as the International Scientific and Practical Conference on “The role of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in regional security: Problems and Prospects” took place in Dushanbe and Kairakkum during this period.
It is worth noting, in particular, that in the 13-year period of the SCO’s existence, it was only under Tajikistan’s chairmanship of the SCO that the member states took an inventory of the legal framework of cooperation within the SCO for the first time. In the framework of this inventory, the parties have carried out a legal analysis of the implementation of decisions of the Council of Heads of State, Heads of Government (Prime Ministers) and the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, for the purpose of their further proper execution. The verification of data on the implementation of internal procedures on international agreements signed within the framework of the SCO was also carried out during the inventory process.
I am glad to note that with every year the prestige of SCO in the world, and in our region in particular, continues to grow steadily. This is confirmed by the existence of significant interest among many countries and regional organizations that see the SCO as a very influential and promising regional association. As you may know, currently five states – Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan – have observer status with the SCO, and Belarus, Turkey and Sri Lanka have the status of dialogue partners. Some of these countries wish to enhance their status with the SCO. A number of states have applied for membership of the SCO and some dialogue partner states have applied to raise their status to that of observer.
It has become a tradition that the summits held in Dushanbe take on a historical mission. The historic step towards the transformation of the “Shanghai Five” into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was taken in July 2000, during the Dushanbe meeting of the “Shanghai Five” Heads of State, and in 2008 during another Dushanbe summit it was decided to establish a special expert group to reflect on expansion of the Organization.
Finally, during this Summit the Procedure for granting the status of the SCO member state and the Model Memorandum of Obligations of a candidate country for obtaining the status of SCO member state were adopted with amendment. These documents are designed to promote geographical expansion of the SCO, which will facilitate multilateral cooperation in the region.
During the presidency of Tajikistan the interaction between the SCO member states and observer states has been considerably intensified. Thus, during this period the SCO Secretariat hosted the first meeting of SCO national coordinators with the authorized representatives of observer states, and the Executive Committee of SCO Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure held its first conference with the participation of anti-terrorism agencies of the observers. These formats count as innovations in the work of the Organization, and it is gratifying that they have appeared during the presidency of Tajikistan.
In general, a chairmanship of any organization and the holding of summits are a major responsibility for any state. The highly positive appreciation of the SCO Summit participants on the result of Tajikistan’s chairmanship of the organization is a cause for pride. Tajikistan has actually proved itself once again as an independent and progressive state, which has all necessary facilities for holding important international political events at the highest level.
The SCO Summit also provided a good opportunity for Tajikistan to act on its political and economic interests and to consider the issues of bilateral cooperation, including attracting foreign investment. A number of bilateral agreements and documents of vital importance for the country were signed during the Summit.
The meeting at the ministerial level conducted in Tajikistan during the year allowed the officials to discuss with their colleagues the issues of bilateral cooperation and inter-agency cooperation as well as to sign documents on bilateral cooperation.
It should be noted that the SCO as an organization was founded on the principles of good neighbourliness, mutual benefit, equality and respect for cultures with the aim of mutual development. At the same time, the SCO, in its relations with other countries and organizations, has been guided by the principles of mutual trust and does not direct its activity against any third country.
The SCO countries, in our opinion, have a real sense of the problems and challenges of the modern era, such as the “three evils” – terrorism, extremism and separatism, as well as illegal drug and arms trafficking. They counteract these threats with some success. Besides this, another priority for the SCO is the development of trade, economic and cultural cooperation. In addition to this, the SCO is not indifferent to the problems of Afghanistan and contributes to the stability and socio-economic revival of this country. In recent years, the SCO has also addressed the important task of combating the threats to information security of a political and criminal nature. Moreover, the range of issues that have been discussed in the framework of the SCO has expanded from year to year. Taking this into account, it can be said that the prospects of the SCO are very optimistic and the SCO’s role will grow from year to year. The further deepening and expansion of relations within the framework of the SCO will fulfil the interests of our state and the region as a whole.