President Vladimir Putin:
Dear Uzbekistan President,
Dear heads of state,
Today we will sum up the results of the work that was begun three years ago in Shanghai. In a comparatively short period of time, a great deal has indeed been done – above all, the structure of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation has been established, and its main principles of areas of activity have been determined.
The secretariat in Beijing has begun to work, as has the headquarters of the Regional anti-terrorist structure which we opened here today in Tashkent. I want to thank our Uzbek colleagues for this efficient and impressive decision: everything was done quickly and at a good level. Contacts between key ministries and departments of our countries have been established and are actively expanding. The protocol on cooperation and coordination of activity between foreign ministries that was signed today is another important step on this path.
I would also like to note that the passing of the Tashkent declaration reflects a new step in the development of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. Its special features lie in increasing multilateral practical interaction between our nations in the spheres outlined in the charter that was passed in Shanghai. It is clear that our organization is becoming a significant element of a new, safer, fairer and more democratic system of international relations, a system that is headed by the United Nations, and which has a network of organizations and integration structures at the base.
I believe the initiative of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation formulated in the Tashkent declaration to appeal to international organizations and forums of the Asian and Pacific region is very timely and promising. We call on our partners to create a system of general regional security and cooperation. I am certain that this initiative fully takes into account the tendency of development and the growth of authority in multilateral structures of the Asian and Pacific region. Their role in economic cooperation and in opposing new threats increases from year to year, and so joining our efforts would only be beneficial.
I also think that the SCO has every chance of becoming a key link in the global anti-terrorist coalition. In connection with this, the Regional anti-terrorist structure should become a truly active information-analytical and coordinating centre of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which my colleagues and I just discussed at the meeting. On the whole, it should ensure the active participation of our organization in international efforts in the war on terrorism and extremism.
We know that one of the financial sources of terrorism is illegal drug trade. And our signing of the Agreement on cooperation in the war on the illegal trade of drugs should become another serious tool in work in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. It is necessary to consistently establish joint work on opposing the circulation of drugs and other threats. We consider that the proposal to develop a programme document on partnership in the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation on combating new challenges and threats deserves support. The competent services of our countries are already working actively in this direction. Here there is also a field of activity for defence departments. I expect that their efforts will make it possible to coordinate the institution of regular meetings for secretaries of the security councils of all six countries, which was created on the initiative of Uzbekistan.
It is clear that stability in the region cannot be ensured without consistent work in the economic area. I believe it is important to make active use of the potential of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation for development of economic integration, business ties and trade. We think highly of the long-term programme that was passed on multilateral trade and economic cooperation of member countries of the Shanghai Organisation
There is another important topic – protection of the environment, including such issues as desertification and degradation of land, and irrigation. The appropriate ministries and departments, and also scientific institutes, could begin joint work on developing the necessary basis for cooperation in the economic sphere as early as this year, under the aegis of the secretariat of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. And finally, I expect that in the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, we should give more attention to cultural, humanitarian and scientific contacts.
I think it is important – and heads of state who spoke before me have already talked about this – that the head of the transitional administration of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, is taking part in today’s meeting. I want to welcome him.
The dramatic situation in Afghanistan was one of the motives for the creation of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. Today the situation in this country is changing, and new political institutions and bodies of power are forming, but in the socio-economic sphere there are still many serious problems. I expect that all member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation are interested in peace and order being restored on Afghan soil, and for economic rebirth to begin. And the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation has significant potential to make a positive contribution to these processes, such as realizing initiative to create external anti-drug security zones.
Perhaps the foreign policy departments of our countries should be instructed to work on the issue of creating a SCO-Afghanistan contact group, together with our Afghan friends and the secretariat of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
A special representative of the President of Mongolia is also taking part in our work. We think highly of the consistent policy of the Mongolian leadership to establish close ties with the SCO. I am certain that our cooperation will be extremely useful in many areas.
And in conclusion, I would like to stress: the area of the member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation makes up a significant part of the European Atlantic and East Asian regions. Our organization is based on the principles of openness and partnership, and respect for the diversity of cultures and traditions. It is capable of playing a serious stabilizing role in this enormous area. I would like to express the hope that this is what it will do, and wish all of us success in this work.
Thank you very much for your attention.
Hamid Karzai: Ladies and gentlemen! Thank you very much for inviting me to this beautiful country, to your beautiful capital, for inviting me to take part in this meeting of heads of state – our neighbours.
Afghanistan very much wants to work actively with this organization. As you all know, I am from Afghanistan, and I would like to briefly discuss Afghanistan’s achievements over the last two years.
After the agreement, all the main tasks that were given to the government were fulfilled on time. We are now preparing for elections, which we hope will be held.
In the economic sphere, Afghanistan has done even better work. The restoration of Afghanistan began with the help of your countries. Afghanistan saw major economic growth in 2002 and 2003. We hope that in 2004 it will be even greater, and that in 2005 it will reach 10%. Afghanistan has every opportunity to become actively involved in integration in this region. The opportunities presented by our neighbours are unique. Our neighbour Pakistan, for example, has exported $20 million in production. Afghanistan can also achieve this, where the opportunities for work with our neighbours are simply enormous.
As the heads of state have already mentioned, there are also problems. The problems of terrorism and the growth of the drug trade also affect Afghanistan. We will fight against terrorism, again this evil that affects many regions. It is also necessary to develop a mechanism, which can help fight drugs. And Afghanistan is prepared to participate in this with all our neighbours in the region.
Afghanistan very much wants to become a partner of countries in the region. Afghanistan is building up its borders and roads with neighbouring countries, which will allow these countries to have better access to the ports of the Indian strait. And in the near future, Afghanistan will welcome the participation of your countries, such as China, in the projects that are discussed here.
Afghanistan is moving towards consolidating peace. Afghanistan is a part of this region, and it will be your friend and do everything to improve the lives of all of your peoples.