President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr President, heads of delegations, colleagues,
I want to start by congratulating everyone here on the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s tenth anniversary. The decade that has gone by has shown that the strategic choice we made back in 2001 was indeed the right decision and a far-sighted choice. As my colleagues have said, our organisation has firmly established its place now as an influential forum for working together on regional issues and cooperation. Our organisation has won recognition throughout the world, and this is reflected in the presence today of delegations from the observer countries and from influential international organisations.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation has worked consistently to build an effective system for responding to threats to security and stability throughout the region. Indeed, over this last decade, the organisation’s paramount task has probably been precisely these efforts to build confidence and partnership, and ensure the conditions that enable our different cultures to develop freely while at the same time respecting the principles of international law and sovereign development. We seek to continue developing our organisation’s potential in the immediate future and in the long-term perspective.
Strengthening our countries’ and peoples’ security is one of our main areas of work. We discussed just before at the narrow format meeting the whole package of measures we are implementing in this area, including our efforts to strengthen the regional anti-terrorist organisation, its financial base, and the human resources at its disposal. Russia has already approved a number of decisions aimed at providing special training to those chosen to work in the regional anti-terrorist organisation. I think that our colleagues should introduce such training programmes too. It is also absolutely vital that we get the observer countries and dialogue partner countries involved in this work too. We already have the legal conditions in place for this. I remind you that in March, in Tashkent, we decided to invite representatives from these countries to take part in meetings of the anti-terrorist organisation’s council, and we have already approved a standard protocol for selecting these representatives.
The fight against drug trafficking remains high on the agenda. In this respect, the anti-drugs strategy for 2011–2016 and the action programme for its implementation will play an important part. We are due to approve these documents at the summit today. We will also sign today a memorandum of understanding between the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s secretariat and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and this is also a big step forward. Incidentally, this is also a sign of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s growing influence. Russia also supports developing closer and more wide-ranging cooperation between the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and Afghanistan in this area. Afghanistan is our neighbour and could be more closely involved in the organisation’s work. As I understand it, all of the member countries share this view. Ultimately, the political stabilisation process in Afghanistan, which has a big impact on our own countries’ security, also depends on this work.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation member countries, based on the agreement on cooperation on international information security, make a contribution to the international community’s efforts in this area. One of the items on the agenda today is to approve the proposal to submit to the 66th session of the UN General Assembly a draft resolution on an international code of conduct in the area of information security. This is clearly an important initiative and it shows our common desire to find a solution to this complex problem.
In their remarks just now, my colleagues said that expanding economic ties is one of the key areas of work in the years ahead. Russia shares this view. As well as regional security, economic development is our next top priority for work together.
At the SCO summit in Dushanbe last year, the member states proposed drafting a roadmap for implementing a multilateral economic cooperation programme. This roadmap must be a full-fledged document setting out proposals for major projects within the SCO framework. I stress in this respect that a forum such as ours should be focused above all on big regional projects between our countries. I think we should get this document drafted and approved by the end of the year and begin its practical implementation without delay.
The proposals on establishing a special venture fund and a joint business cooperation centre are also promising initiatives.
We should also discuss the question of a special Shanghai Cooperation Organisation account. I think the time is ripe for this, and practically all of the member countries are ready to discuss it and make decisions now. The funds in this account could be used to carry out the feasibility studies for big projects. We could also get the inter-bank group, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Business Council, and the member state’s business communities involved in carrying out these big projects.
Expanding our humanitarian ties is also on the agenda. I remind you that in September last year, the SCO University began working as a pilot project. More than 50 of our countries’ top universities are involved in this project. I think that our peoples, especially our young people, should have the broadest possible opportunities for taking part in educational, cultural and sports exchanges. In this respect, we are also considering the new initiatives from the SCO Youth Council, and the proposals that Ms Otunbayeva just made. I think this is a good initiative.
Cooperation in the healthcare sector is also a very relevant issue, including cooperation in ensuring sanitary and epidemiological safety. The recent events in Europe show just how important it is that countries work together in this area to prevent epidemics from spreading.
Of course, raising our peoples’ living standards is also a common concern for us all.
I am sure that the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation will continue to be an organisation open for cooperation. This is not an elite club, but an organisation ready to work together with various countries. I am sure that the approval of the memorandum on the obligations of countries applying for membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation will mark an important step in developing this cooperation potential.
Such then are our current affairs and plans.
In conclusion, I want to thank most warmly Nursultan Nazarbayev for the fruitful work during Kazakhstan’s presidency of the organisation. Our Kazakhstani colleagues have done much indeed to ensure that the SCO celebrates its first decade of existence in worthy fashion and with good results. We still have a lot more work ahead. After this summit, the presidency will go to the People’s Republic of China, and I wish them success and hope that the specific agreements we approve today, aimed at developing our organisation, will indeed help us in pursuing our strategic goals of guaranteeing peace, stability and progress throughout our common region.