President Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, dear friends and colleagues.
Allow me to wish you a warm welcome. I am very glad that you have decided to choose the Russian capital for your meeting to discuss political and economic cooperation between the members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
We will be celebrating the fifth anniversary of the organisation’s founding in 2006. I would like to note that over this time all of us, all the members of this organisation, have worked very hard to fulfil the objectives set at the moment of the organisation’s creation. Having fulfilled its initial tasks and reached the original goals that were set, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation has begun expanding its activities far beyond the scope of its initially declared missions.
I would like to welcome not only the heads of government of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation member states but also the heads of delegations representing countries that have expressed a desire to work with the organisation and that have observer status at this point in time, namely Iran, Pakistan, India and Mongolia.
The total population of the member countries and the observer states comes to more than three billion people. This means that, meeting in this format, the leaders of these states, the heads of government of our countries, make decisions that have an impact on the social and economic wellbeing of the vast majority of people on our planet. This in itself is a significant factor in international politics.
The process of developing mechanisms for working together and resolving practical tasks has taken the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation to a completely new level of cooperation. I would draw your attention to the objectives set out at the organisation’s summit in Astana and also to the fact that economic cooperation is becoming an increasingly important part of our organisation’s work.
At the same time, we remain committed to our focus on the very important part of our cooperation that is ensuring the security of our citizens. In this respect I must say a few words about the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s efforts aimed at combating terrorism. The organisation has set up special structures to work on these most complex and important tasks facing practically all civilised nations today. We have established a regional anti-terrorist organisation based in Tashkent. A number of events, including in Shanghai Cooperation Organisation member states – I am referring to the events in Uzbekistan and the recent events in Nalchik in the Russian Federation – show that these tasks and this issue is very relevant indeed and call for our attention.
I think that you will agree with me that if we want to find effective solutions to the problems we face, we also need to pay due attention to humanitarian cooperation, that is, cooperation in the areas of culture and education.
Regarding the economic component of our cooperation, I would like to draw your particular attention to the question of developing relations in the financial sector. The Russian Federation welcomes the plans that the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation has formulated in this area. I am referring to the plans for boosting cooperation between financial and banking institutions and the planned Eurasian Economic Forum.
Once again I would like to say how pleased we are that you are meeting here in Moscow. I would like to welcome the organisation’s executive secretary and our old friend, Mr Zhang Deguan, who worked for a long time as ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Russia. I think we should all help the executive secretary to ensure that the organisation functions effectively and increases the intensiveness and results of its work. We should all help him also to ensure that the international community and the citizens of our countries receive prompt and full information on the work the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is doing to stabilise the situation in our countries, in our region and in the world.
We are working for this stability in order to ensure international security, in order to make the necessary contribution to economic development in the world and in order to resolve social issues and improve the quality of life of our peoples.