SCO: new model of successful international cooperation
|Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, one of the youngest international structures, will observe its fifth anniversary on 15 June. On the threshold of the jubilee meeting, the Council of the Heads of SCO member-states would like to share some ideas about the functioning of the organization, its prospects and future objectives. |
Founded in 2001, SCO quickly grew into a powerful regional organization. Today "SCO factor" is a significant element of stability in the vast Eurasian space. It is the reality of contemporary regional and global policy. That is why the increasing interest of other states and multilateral unions in the work and meetings of the SCO is justified.
I would like to remind that the formation of this regional organization was the result of strong efforts aimed at building mutual trust. And taking into account the fact that at the same time we had to solve other serious problems, we can definitely be proud of the persistence, determinedness and self-control demonstrated by all members. After complex negotiations, the parties solved border issues.
It is enough to say that there are no precedents in Asia to the organization with regards to both the length of the border, and membership. The importance of unifying the efforts in counteracting the new threats became evident back in the 90s of the past century Ц during the days of the Shanghai Five. At that we believed that only on our own Ц on the base of multilateral partnership Ц could be support peace and economic progress in the vast common region.
Even more so, since the real situation required immediate coordinated efforts. Several countries of Central Asia suffered from the aggression of international terrorism. Its ideologists tired to start new centers of separatism, national and religious extremism in the region.
The creation of an anti-terrorist coalition is often associated with the reaction of the world community to the tragedy of September 11, 2001. Yes, indeed it was a turning point both in the people's judgments and international politics. But to be objective, the states that created the SCO before those dramatic events, not only spoke of the importance of joint fight against terrorism, but also acted on it. Thus, it was the member-states of the SCO that forwarded the initiative to form a regional anti-terrorist structure in June 2001.
Today, we have efficient instruments for joint fight against, what our Chinese partners call "three evils" Ц terrorism, separatism, and extremism. The logical step that followed was the development of interaction in neutralization of drug-trafficking and correspondingly, close cooperation in the line of "force blocs".
The issues of stability in the region are always in the center of the attention of SCO member-states. And here we are open to the widest possible cooperation. According to SCO members, it is important to aim at coordination of efforts and development of agreed approaches to the maintenance of security in the Asian-Pacific space. This first of all includes the development of close relations with the existing regional organizations and structures concerned.
Such partnership network will allow avoiding the duplication and parallelism, and will act in the common interest without the creation of closed "exclusive" clubs and separating lines. The idea of such cooperation was reflected in the Tashkent Initiative of the SCO in 2004, and it received a wide positive response.
In view of this, I would like to point at the new sphere for the SCO Ц cooperation with the observer-states. At the moment, India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia hold the status of SCO observers and thus participate in the work of the organizations. The organization has created a Contact Group with Afghanistan. We are expanding the experience of interaction. This, undoubtedly, will stimulate the growth of the authority of the organization, the population of the member-states of which makes up nearly a half of the world population. I would like to emphasize, SCO is open to dialogue, and ready to cooperate for the sake of peace, stability and progress.
Obviously, the extensive range of the organisation's activities is not limited solely to the political sphere. A wide range of economic issues are included in the agenda. Economic cooperation is increasing in importance for the SCO members. The region has colossal opportunities for effective mutually beneficial cooperation, capable of raising the living standards of the population and turning Central Asia into one of the most developed regions of the world.
I suppose, it is the mechanisms of regional integration that will stimulate effective implementation of the natural competitive advantages of the SCO members. This particularly includes the advantages with regards to the sphere of energy, resource base, transportation flow, development of traditional and innovative industries, science and technology.
It is apparent that there is a great space for the activity and initiatives of enterprise and banking circles. It is not accidental that it is planned to hold Constituent Assembly of the SCO Business Council at the upcoming SCO summit. At the meeting, the coordinating center of the business world of SCO member-states will be formed. We put big hopes into the structure and expect the implementation of specific cooperation projects. These efforts should also be supported by the participants of the inter-bank agreement, formed in October of the past year in Moscow.
Humanitarian dimension is growing in importance in the framework of the SCO. Undoubtedly, the work in this direction will enrich the Organisation, inspire it with creative energy of scientific, cultural, youth, and human relations. The base for such communication is strong Ц the people of our countries have created unique civilizations, and enclosed an enormous contribution to the world cultural treasury. The interest to study these treasures will only grow.
We have gained an extensive experience of cultural contacts and exchanges, as well as dialogue of academic circles. We are preparing papers on cooperation in the field of education. We also need to turn into multilateral format, the bilateral agreements of SCO partners in the field of tourism and sport.
I am convinced that parliamentarians of the SCO member-states will contribute significantly to the strengthening of cooperation. Their first meeting was held in the end of May in Moscow. Also, the recently founded SCO Forum that united the representatives of expert and scientific circles is intended to become a unique non-governmental expert mechanism of the organization.
The model of cooperation we have chosen, the "Shanghai spirit" itself are becoming increasingly accepted. Specific and clear principles lie at the heart of our organization. Among them is mutual trust, open discussion of any problems, solution of problems without exertion of any pressure, but through consultations. In practice, these have become the guiding principles of the SCO members, which we hope will determine the attractiveness of the organization in the eyes of the world community.
Today, when the statements about the allegedly insuperable cultural and civilisational differences between the countries are reanimated, the Organisation demonstrates the best example of equal partnership in the Eurasian space. Partnership, the strategic aim of which is to strengthen regional security and stability, assist economic progress and integration processes while retaining national and cultural uniqueness of each state.
The objectives stated five years ago in Shanghai are truly implemented into live. A solid foundation has been created not only for the SCO to achieve quality new levels of cooperation, but also to increase the organization's contribution to the solution of contemporary global issues. The pledge of this is the real striving of all members of the Organisation to work together and act in solidarity.
President of the Russian Federation
Read also other World News on www.UzReport.uz