Remarks by Acting Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan Vladimir Norov at a briefing following the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers’ meeting

Esteemed journalists, ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to thank you for covering our meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers and the activities of the SCO in general.
You have been covering all events related to Uzbekistan’s chairmanship of the SCO quite comprehensively.
Uzbekistan has determined the priorities and main tasks for our cooperative efforts since the first day it took SCO chairmanship.
During this period, we have held over 70 large events that have covered all areas of multilateral cooperation.
The current Council of Foreign Ministers’ session is one of the most important events in our country’s chairmanship.
President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the esteemed Shavkat Mirziyoyev, has received the foreign ministers of our countries.
At the meeting, our President emphasised the need to react promptly and jointly to common challenges and threats, to build up regional economic cooperation, to promote friendship and deepen cultural and humanitarian contacts in the SCO space.
The leader of Uzbekistan set forth the priorities for further deepening multilateral cooperation, focusing on the current tasks on the SCO agenda, and made specific proposals for resolving them.
Everyone in the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers session has participated in an extensive exchange of views in preparation for the main event – the SCO Heads of State Council meeting. This is scheduled to take place in Samarkand on September 15-16.
The ministers coordinated a complete package of documents for the upcoming Heads of State meeting.
The approved documents include the drafts of the Samarkand Declaration, the Comprehensive Plan for Implementing the Treaty on Long-Term Neighbourly Relations, Friendship and Cooperation, the Concept of Cooperation to Develop  Connectivity and Create Effective Transport Corridors, the Programme to Encourage Industrial Cooperation, and the Provisions for the Honourable Title of SCO Goodwill Ambassador, to name a few.
The issue of SCO expansion was one of the most important items in our meeting. The ministers reviewed the current applications from the interested countries for member state status, and for observer state and SCO dialogue partner status.
I would like to emphasise that we have made substantial progress in this area. Thus, at the upcoming summit, we plan to sign a memorandum on Iran’s commitments, which opens the direct path to full SCO membership.
We expect to sign memorandums on granting dialogue partner status to three countries: Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. This will complete the legal registration for SCO participation in this format.
The ministers supported the applications from Bahrain and Maldives to receive dialogue partner status. These resolutions will be signed at the summit in Samarkand. 
All parties are carefully considering the Republic of Belarus’ application for full SCO membership.
There is common understanding that expanding the SCO family will encourage versatile cooperation in ensuring regional security and developing trade, investment and industrial cooperation, and will promote the development of the huge transport and transit potential in the SCO space.
Our meeting also showed the continuing dynamic expansion of the network of SCO partners.
Thus, we supported a proposal to sign memorandums of understanding with the Arab League and the UN specialised agencies ESCAP and UNESCO at the summit in Samarkand.
The participants expressed a unanimous opinion on the need to step up the involvement of SCO observers and dialogue partners in the SCO’s practical cooperation.
Esteemed journalists,

We discussed the status of and prospects for cooperation in all areas of SCO activity, and we exchanged views on current regional and global issues.

We emphasised that in relying on the Shanghai Spirit, the SCO has established itself as an influential participant in the modern system of international relations over the 20 years since it was founded. This spirit embodies mutual trust, reciprocal benefit, equality, mutual consultations, respect for cultural diversity and a striving for joint development.

We reaffirmed our common desire to strengthen the SCO’s status in the world arena. This policy excludes bloc-based and confrontational approaches to resolving regional and international problems.

The results of this meeting demonstrate our identical or similar positions on current regional and international issues and on the strengthening of stability and security in Central Asia, the SCO’s geographical region.

The heads of the delegations expressed concern over the changing character of the challenges and threats to security in the SCO space and the growing destructive role of information technology, in part, the spread of fabricated news and various kinds of pernicious ideologies.

In this context, the participants stressed the importance of even greater cohesion in countering the forces of the “three evils.” They noted the need for stepping up joint efforts to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our countries, while strengthening friendship and mutual support.

The participants noted the importance of ensuring, as soon as possible, the implementation of the agreements by our leaders on improving the mechanisms for countering the challenges and threats to the security of the SCO countries by relying on the foundation of RATS and with due account for all parties’ initiatives.

In addition, the participants heard reports by the SCO Secretary-General and the Director of the RATS Executive Committee on the activities of the SCO’s standing bodies during the past year.

They expressed a willingness to continue developing their constructive dialogue and expanding and deepening their versatile partnership with a view to effectively resolving regional and global problems in the interests of political and economic stability and a fair and equitable world order.

The meeting participants also discussed other current issues of SCO activity.

Overall, our meeting demonstrated the striving of all members to reach specific results and adopt new and important resolutions at the Samarkand summit that will be called on to open a new landmark in the history of our organisation.

Esteemed journalists, allow me to thank you once again for covering our meeting.

Thank you for your attention.