President Vladimir Putin: I wish to thank you for the high assessment of the foreign policy initiatives, efforts and practice of Russian activity on the international scene in the last few years.
We regard our present meeting and work within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as a natural extension, continuation and integral part of the common efforts by the international community to prevent conflicts and threats of today. We all know and often speak of the fact that they bear a global character and cannot be solved without the broad involvement of key players in the international arena, both on the Western and on the Asian tracks.
It was very important for us to hear your opinion on the priorities of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
I want to thank in your presence your colleagues who had keenly and intensely worked for a year on the basic statutory documents of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
Allow me on behalf of the Russian leadership also to say a few words on the substance of our present meeting.
A year ago we together proclaimed the establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in the home town of President Jiang Zemin, in Shanghai. Today we are to make a qualitative step forward in the matter of embodying this joint undertaking and to approve a Charter of the Shanghai Organization as its basic statutory document. I think we have the right to say: it has turned out to be a document of high quality, laying a solid foundation of the Organization. The Charter defines the main goals and objectives of the Shanghai Organization, as well as the mechanisms really enabling the bodies and structures of the SCO to work effectively and our ministries and agencies to coordinate. In addition, the creation of a regional antiterrorist structure as a permanent body of the SCO is provided for. The special agreement, which had been prepared towards our present meeting, gives an idea of the specific aspects of its formation and activities. Its signing will be a weighty contribution of all the SCO member states to the creation of a global system of counteraction against terrorism.
I would like to express my appreciation to the Chinese partners for the invitation to house the secretariat of the Shanghai Organization for Cooperation in China's capital of Beijing, as well as to our Kyrgyz friends for the consent to receive the headquarters of the antiterrorist structure in Bishkek.
I think it is necessary, without putting if off, to already embark on preparatory measures for their deployment now. In the morning we discussed the various schemes for practical realization. I think that they are all acceptable. We have every reason to believe that this will be done.
There also seems to be a need for us to organize practical cooperation with respect to the suppression of illicit drug trafficking, as already mentioned here. I would add to this the illegal trade in arms, and other kinds of transnational crime. Let this be a new priority assignment for the Bishkek group, and the directors of law enforcement agencies and special services of the six states.
Furthermore, we should build up the efforts to implement the Shanghai Convention on the Combating of Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism, which we signed in June last year. The year since Shanghai has shown the good dynamics in multilateral cooperation under SCO auspices in various fields, including that between the defense ministries, border services, and agencies responsible for the elimination of emergency situations.
I would like to dwell on certain other, important, to my mind, and perhaps even key aspects as well.
First, the meeting of heads of government of the six countries in Almaty on September 14, 2001 (as already mentioned by our Honorable Colleague President Nazarbayev today) set forth the chief guidelines as to the development of the international situation in the world. I would mention both the Conference of September 14, 2001, and the meeting held just now within the framework of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia. It seems to me that we should adopt the spirit of Almaty also in the framework of the work of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
Secondly, the SCO is already being spoken of as an international structure with high potential, which is capable of giving an answer to the challenge of our times. I think we should endorse the initiative of the heads of the foreign affairs agencies for organizing a mechanism of foreign policy coordination.
Thirdly, an important humanitarian component has appeared in our Organization over the past year. And the colleagues have already mentioned it. I hold that we should think how better to use the considerable potential available here. I feel good possibilities are there for organizing cooperation in the environmental field, in education and in public health.
I am convinced that we must continue to move forward at the speed we have already picked up and which suits our entire association. Only such an approach will ensure our Organization stability, effectiveness and attractiveness.
And two more, to my mind, very important points. The momentum-gathering Shanghai Cooperation Organization is being closely watched in the world. We bear special responsibility for security and stability in Central Asia. It will be worthwhile to adopt the accomplishments, as I already said, of the recent meeting within the framework of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, and perhaps even use the documents which were produced there, for bolstering our efforts within the framework of the SCO.
The formation of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization occurs in rapidly evolving conditions when the world community faces responsibility to find the answers to new challenges and threats to security. This can be achieved only on lines of multilateral and equitable cooperation.
The SCO agrees to this — I already said about it. This is an open association, without any things left unsaid about its activity. In the final political document of our meeting — the Declaration — our common vision of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is reflected, along with the indication of specific guidelines for its long- and immediate-term development.
The Declaration also sets forth our common positions on a number of pressing international problems. I consider this one more demonstration of the openness of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
The tasks which the Organization is called upon to solve as a regional association cannot be viewed outside the context of major events in the contemporary world. That's why each of the colleagues who spoke gave a brief, but, I would say, very precise, in-depth analysis of the situation on the international scene. And the effectiveness of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is inseparably connected with the processes and trends occurring in the global dimension.
I consider it fundamentally important that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, with its geographical reach from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific Ocean, should play an active and initiative-laden role in these processes.
Esteemed colleagues, the development of affairs in the world confirms that the strategic decision on the establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was absolutely justified and correct. It meets the long-term, basic interests of all our six states.
Over the past year we have done very big work. But the Shanghai Organization has, perhaps, an even longer and more difficult road ahead.
The Russian Federation is ready and will help to ensure in every possible way that the Organization be an effective instrument and play an independent, weighty and constructive role in international affairs.
I thank you for your attention, esteemed colleagues. We are finishing our work. I want once more to thank all the Heads of State for their fruitful and keen participation in the debate. Our common mind-set is obvious — to strengthen the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, to enhance the effectiveness of its mechanisms and to impart to the activities of the Organization a concrete working character.