Vladimir Putin: Dear heads of state of SCO member and observer countries!
Dear ladies and gentlemen!
First of all I want to congratulate us once again on the SCO’s anniversary. We made the decision to found the organisation about five years ago in Shanghai and I think that everyone will agree that history has confirmed the timeliness and strategic importance of the decision we made.
As it celebrates its anniversary the SCO has become a mature international organisation. An organisation that is able to effectively resolve issues with respect to stability, security and development on the territory of its member states.
It is not by chance that the interest in our organisation is growing. We are thankful to all the leaders of the SCO observer countries, the President of Afghanistan, and the representatives of international organisations who are in this hall for their interest in our organisation.
I shall also note that the SCO was and will remain open to cooperation. For all interested states and associations the SCO is a responsible and promising partner.
Dear session participants!
I am pleased that the heads of the SCO member countries have a shared understanding of how our future cooperation will develop. And today’s agenda directly reflects the key priority areas, both long-term and short-term ones, where we must concentrate our joint efforts.
First of all, within the SCO we have developed relations based on a truly equal partnership. And I would like to emphasize this: on an absolutely equal footing. And our significant, positive experience in working together, similar priorities with respect to development, and a common responsibility for our region’s destiny is the basis on which our relations will be built. For that reason it is important to strengthen these relations by concluding a multilateral agreement.
I am convinced that by establishing a system of measures and mechanisms to react jointly and effectively to the threats that face the region such an agreement would increase the SCO’s potential for cooperation even more.
We must increase our organisation’s potential to fight against terrorism and extremism. Our defense ministries must be actively involved in planning counterterrorism operations — I agree with what my colleagues said about this – and operate according to the guidelines that the SCO defense ministries laid out at the meeting in April.
I am referring to implementing the provisions contained in the organisation’s Charter. The SCO is also ready to engage in close cooperation with other countries and integration associations.
An important task involves intensifying the SCO’s range of ties with other international organisations. First and foremost the UN, ASEAN, the CIS, the CSTO, and EurAsEC.
Implementing the Agreement on Combating Illegal Drug Trafficking more rigorously is in all of our interests. The SCO must seriously enhance international efforts to combat drug trafficking. I will note that this issue is included in the agenda of the SCO-Afghanistan contact group.
It is possible to coordinate mechanisms to fight against drug trafficking within SCO member countries. All the interested ministries could agree about this in the very near future.
The theme of international information security is a new one for the SCO. Today the international community is paying more attention to this subject. I believe that the agreements reflected in the Statement will produce tangible results and that they will interest observer countries.
One crucial theme for the SCO is providing assistance in eradicating poverty, unemployment, and expanding access to educational and cultural facilities. Steps in this direction do more than simply help coordinate development in Central Asian countries — something we talked about when meeting in a restricted format — they are steps towards resolving major common tasks and increasing the well-being of our states’ citizens.
Undoubtedly, establishing an SCO Business Council and Inter-Bank Association creates new opportunities for economic cooperation between member countries. We expect significant results when our experts from academic and business circles meet in a forum.
We see interesting prospects in developing interparliamentary ties. In connection with this the results of the first meeting between heads of parliament of SCO member countries that took place in Moscow were positive ones.
I shall point out that the SCO has a sufficient organizational and legal infrastructure to actively engage in promising economic projects.
I consider that the proposal to create an SCO Energy Club is a topical one, as well as expanding cooperation in transport and communications. Along with this Russia is considering the possibility of providing credit to separate economic projects.
We give special value to tightening our partnership in the spheres of culture and education. Today it is important to increase the opportunities available to our countries’ citizens, first and foremost our countries’ youth, to increase the level of education and the development of academic, cultural and athletic contacts. We are ready to consider building several educational institutions in Central Asia to help achieve this goal. We are also ready to expand cooperation between universities, in particular by applying modern methods available for distance learning. You know that a number of steps to develop ties between youth have been taken. The logical next step would be to create an SCO Youth Association. I think that this could be a promising and interesting direction to take.
We must pay close attention to cooperation in the field of health care. One of the most important areas in this respect concerns preventing and treating epidemics and infectious diseases. This will lower the probability of an outbreak of an epidemic. And on the whole it will improve our citizens’ quality of life.
During their SCO presidency our Chinese partners have really done their utmost so that our organisation celebrates its five year anniversary both festively and with emphasis on results.
Now Kyrgyzstan will assume the SCO presidency. I have no doubt that our Kyrgyz colleagues will do as much as they can to ensure that the organisation’s mechanisms work actively and effectively.
I would like to thank Mr Zhang Deguang who worked very productively towards establishing the secretariat. I believe that the best aspects of his work will be continued and developed by the representative from Kazakhstan Mr Bolat Nurgaliev who will act as Secretary General from 1 January 2007. I will also point out that the director of the executive committee of the SCO Regional Antiterrorist Structure, Mr Kasymov, has made an important contribution to the organisation’s development.
Over the last five years we have done a great deal so that a successful and fruitful partnership could develop within our organisation. I am confident that the decisions we are making today will help further promote the SCO’s overall objective, that is to ensure stability, security and dynamic development in our states and in the region as a whole.
Thank you for your attention.