The extraordinary meeting of the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers was for the first time held in New York, on the sidelines of the 72nd UN General Assembly, on September 20, 2017. It was attended by foreign ministers of all eight SCO members. They exchanged opinions on the prospects of the Organization’s further development, relevant international and regional issues, development of interaction between the SCO and the United Nations and other multilateral organizations, and expansion of cooperation between SCO member states with the UN and other international platforms.
The meeting once again demonstrated the solidarity existing within the SCO and sent a positive signal to the international community, contributing to peace and stability in the region and in the world, SCO Secretary General Rashid Alimov said. The participants confirmed their unswerving devotion to the principles of the Shanghai Spirit, characterized by mutual trust, equality, mutual benefit, consultations, respect for cultural diversity and aspirations joint development. In this connection, they pointed to the crucial importance of the SCO Charter, the Agreement on Long-term Good Neighborly Relations, Friendship and Cooperation, and other fundamental documents of the Organization.
“One of the most important outcomes of the discussion was statement of the fact that at the time when a multi-polar world is shaping, strengthening of new centers of political influence and economic development is becoming irreversible. The ministers agreed that the process of economic globalization is encountering reverse trends: the growth pace of the global economy remains unstable, and contradictions related to uneven development and wealth distribution continue escalating,” Alimov pointed out.
The Secretary General said that the Organization had an answer to these questions. “Peaceful coexistence and sustainable development remain our common priorities. SCO member states unanimously agree that it is necessary to adhere to multilateral approaches in resolving pressing problems, to respond to various threats and challenges by improving global governance based on collective principles, in order to contribute to shaping a society of common destiny and building a new type of international relations,” he said.
He also touched upon the issue of fighting terrorism and approaches to further efforts in this area. “This topic has always been a priority for the SCO,” he said. “Foreign ministers confirmed that it was unacceptable to apply double standards to terrorists.”
Speaking about the situation in Afghanistan, the ministers noted the efforts of the country’s government and people aimed at restoring a peaceful, stable and prosperous state, free of terrorism, extremism and drug trafficking. “In this connection, it seems important that the SCO member states should act on their agreement to continue the work of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group in the new format as soon as possible,” the Secretary General said.
“Given the trends in the global economy, development and expansion of trade and economic cooperation within the SCO is acquiring special importance,” he believes. “I am first of all referring to the destructive attempts of using unilateral restrictions as tools of political and economic pressure, creating obstacles for trade, economic and investment cooperation between countries.” The ministers spoke in favour of creating favorable conditions in the interests of gradual introduction of free movement of goods, capital, services and technologies, as envisaged by the SCO Charter. The next meeting of the SCO Council of Prime Ministers at the end of November will outline the priority goals and practical measures for further development of economic and humanitarian interaction.