On 29 February 2020, SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov had a meeting with Foreign Minister of the State of Qatar Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani as they attended the signing of the peace agreement between the US Administration and the Taliban movement on ending the war in Afghanistan.
The SCO Secretary-General thanked Qatar's leaders and personally the Foreign Minister for the invitation to attend this important political event which, according to general opinion, may mark a turning point in the history of Afghanistan and establish favourable prerequisites for ending the conflict that has been ongoing for over four decades.
Vladimir Norov noted that SCO member states believe that prompt settlement in Afghanistan is a crucial factor of maintaining and enhancing security in the Organisation's space. The member states invariably expressed confidence that there was no alternative to resolving the intra-Afghan conflict via political dialogue and an inclusive peace process pursued by and under the leadership of Afghans themselves.
The SCO Secretary-General told his partner that the Organisation maintains interaction with official Kabul in different areas. Thus, at the Heads of State Council meeting in Bishkek in June 2019, a roadmap by the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group was approved specifying concrete steps on member states' cooperation in economic recovery, facilitating measures to counter activities of Afghanistan-based international terrorist organisations and threats posed by them in the SCO space, as well as cooperation with Afghan authorities in fighting drug trafficking and illegal migration, as well as other threats and challenges.
The SCO countries are aware of this country's historical, cultural and civilisational features, clearly see and directly feel the transborder nature of the challenges and threats emanating from its territory, which means they are capable of working out efficient and realistic ways of resolving the Afghan issue. In this connection, special emphasis is made on promoting negotiation and dialogue formats initiated or co-sponsored by SCO member states, including the Moscow format of consultations, the Tashkent process, consultations involving special representatives of Russia, China, the United States and Pakistan, and other multilateral platforms.
Afghanistan has an observer state status within the SCO and expresses an intention to step up cooperation with SCO countries, which will become realistic after peace and stability are achieved.
The SCO Secretary-General believes that today's event in Qatar can be a momentous event for the peace process in Afghanistan. It also underscores the international mediator role of Qatar since the parties had been agreeing the document since November 2018.
In turn, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani expressed his appreciation to the SCO Secretary-General for attending the event and spoke highly of the Organisation's international standing, its significant role in enhancing security and stability in its zone of responsibility. He also stressed that SCO countries are actively engaged in the efforts to achieve progress in peace settlement.
Qatar's foreign minister confirmed Doha's interest in expanding cooperation with the SCO and readiness to work on various promising projects in the SCO countries.