Joint communique of the SCO Defence Ministers Meeting

The meeting of the Defence ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

Defence ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation met in Astana, Kazakhstan, on 7 June 2017.

The meeting was attended by Kazakh Defence Minister Col. Gen. Saken Zhasuzakov, Chinese Defence Minister and State Councilor Col. Gen. Chang Wanquan, Kyrgyz Chief of the General Staff Maj. Gen. Rayimberdi Duishenbiyev, Russian Defence Minister Gen. of the Army Sergei Shoigu, Tajik Defence Minister Lt. Gen. Sherali Mirzo, and Uzbek Defence Minister Col. Gen. Kabul Berdiev.

SCO Secretary-General Rashid Alimov and Director of the Executive Committee of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure Yevgeny Sysoyev also took part in the meeting.

The participants of the meeting, which is traditionally held in an atmosphere of friendship and mutual understanding, exchanged views on pressing international and regional security issues.

The ministers said a priority for the SCO member states in light of modern threats and challenges was to fight terrorism, extremism and separatism, and to maintain and consolidate peace, security and stability in the region.

The defence ministers praised the Russian Aerospace Forces for their successful operations targeted against the ISIS (Daesh) and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist groups in the Syrian Arab Republic, and also their efforts to secure a ceasefire agreement in that country, to improve the ceasefire monitoring mechanism and to provide humanitarian aid to its people.

The ministers also emphasised Kazakhstan's crucial role in steering the Syrian crisis to the path of peaceful political resolution, and its hosting of international meetings on Syria as part of the Astana Process, which is held in addition to the UN-sponsored Geneva negotiations.

The conferees supported the development and further improvement of SCO defence ministries' coordinated efforts, taking into account new member states joining the organisation. The new members' involvement in military cooperation is expected to significantly boost mutual trust between the SCO member states.

The ministers expressed confidence in further successful cooperation, stronger partnership and open dialogue within the SCO.

The meeting resulted in the signing of a Protocol of Intent between the SCO defence ministries in studying and preserving the historical and cultural heritage, and also approved the SCO Defence Ministries' Cooperation Plan for 2018-2019.

The SCO Defence Ministries' award For Promoting Friendship and Cooperation has been conferred on people who contributed heavily to stronger and better cooperation between the organisation's defence ministries.

Those present also commended the Kazakh Defence Ministry's efforts to organise and host the meeting, and expressed gratitude for the comfortable working conditions and hospitality.

The meeting participants agreed to hold the next regular meeting of the SCO Defence Ministers in the People's Republic of China in 2018.