The 12th meeting of the SCO National Security Council Secretaries chaired by Kazakhstan was held in Astana on 5-6 April.
The meeting was attended by Presidential Aide and Secretary of the Security Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan Vladimir Zhumakanov, Member of the State Council of the People's Republic of China Guo Shengkun, Secretary of the Security Council of the Kyrgyz Republic Temir Djumakadyrov, Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of the Security Council of the Republic of Tajikistan Abdurakhim Kaharov, Secretary of the Security Council under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Viktor Mahmudov, Secretary-General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Rashid Alimov and Director of the Executive Committee of the SCO Regional Antiterrorist Structure Yevgeny Sysoyev.
The heads of delegations were received by President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev.
The National Security Council secretaries exchanged views on security and stability within the SCO space in a traditionally friendly and constructive atmosphere. In light of the forthcoming SCO expansion, they discussed further advancing cooperation and improving the mechanisms for interaction between the member states in the spheres such as countering terrorism, separatism and extremism, trafficking in weapons and drugs, as well as other current challenges and threats.
A positive assessment of the outcome of interaction of the competent agencies of the SCO member states was provided with regard to ensuring security, including in the sphere of combating drug trafficking, as well as the anti-terrorist exercises that they conducted, including Peace Mission-2016 and Cooperation-2016, as well as Unity-2016 joint border operation.
The National Security Council secretaries discussed international and regional security, including the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, Afghanistan and other regions adjacent to the SCO.
In particular, the participants noted that speedy settlement of the situation in Afghanistan is one of the most important factors in maintaining and strengthening security and stability within the SCO space. They confirmed the need for a peaceful solution to the Afghan conflict that should be led by the people of Afghanistan with the UN playing a central coordinating role.
The participants praised the international meetings on the Syrian settlement held in Astana in the first quarter of 2017 and expressed hope that the agreements reached under the Astana process will give a positive impetus to the political settlement of the Syrian crisis under the auspices of the UN within the framework of the Geneva process in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2254 adopted in 2015.
The participants confirmed the importance of a political settlement of the Ukraine crisis on the basis of implementation of the Minsk agreements of 12 February 2015.
It was noted that strict observance of the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia and the early entry into force of the relevant Protocol on Security Assurances will make a significant contribution to strengthening regional stability and the nuclear non-proliferation regime.
The participants welcomed the fact that Kazakhstan became, on 1 January 2017, a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2017-2018. They expressed confidence that the Republic of Kazakhstan will contribute to strengthening global peace and expanding cooperation between all regional organisations in the sphere of security.
The secretaries underscored the importance of active participation of SCO observer states and dialogue partners in strengthening security and stability within the SCO space.
They welcomed the adoption of the UN General Assembly resolution on cooperation between the UN and the SCO, which is designed to reinforce joint resistance to current security challenges and threats.
Reaffirming the central role of the UN in fighting international terrorism, the parties consider it expedient to expand the SCO's contacts with international and regional organisations in order to develop harmonised approaches in this area.
The parties recognise that consolidating the efforts of international and regional agencies will increase the effectiveness of countering trafficking in illegal drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors. In this regard, the National Security Council secretaries welcomed the outcome of the joint UNODC-SCO event on the theme, The UN and the SCO in the fight against drugs: Common threats and joint actions.
The sides welcomed the successful harmonisation of the draft SCO Convention on Countering Extremism.
The participants emphasised that using the internet and online communication technology remains one of the main avenues for spreading destructive ideology. They pointed out the importance of preventing and suppressing their use for illegal purposes, as well as the relevance of adopting appropriate regulatory legal acts at the international level.
An exchange of views took place regarding the implementation of the security agreements reached during the SCO Tashkent Summit on 23-24 June 2016.
After hearing the information provided by the Kazakh side on preparations for the meeting of the SCO Council of the Heads of States to be held in Astana on 8-9 June, 2017 the participants noted that the accession of India and Pakistan to the SCO will promote cooperation in ensuring security within the SCO space.
The SCO Secretary-General and the Director of the Executive Committee of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) updated the participants on the SCO activities in the security sphere.
The participants noted the positive role of RATS in ensuring coordination of the activities of the competent bodies of the SCO member states in fighting terrorism, separatism and extremism. The importance of further advancing cooperation in these areas was emphasised, with due account taken of the expansion of the SCO.
The heads of the delegations noted how well the meeting was organised and expressed gratitude to the Kazakh side for its traditionally warm hospitality.
The next meeting of the SCO National Security Council Secretaries will take place in the People's Republic of China.