Press briefing of the SCO Secretary-General following the SCO Heads of State Council Meeting
Press briefing of the SCO Secretary-General following the SCO Heads of State Council Meeting

Good afternoon, friends,

On behalf of the Chairman of the SCO Heads of States Council and President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, allow me to bring to your attention the results of the recent summit, which, without exaggeration, was a historic event.

1. The SCO Heads of States Council Meeting, which is the main event of the year for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, took place in Astana on 8-9 June 2017.

2. The meeting participants conducted a thorough exchange of opinions on ways to further improve and expand multifaceted cooperation within the SCO, as well as the main themes of the regional and global agenda.

3. Eleven documents were adopted at the meeting, including the Astana Declaration of the SCO Heads of State, the SCO Convention on Counteracting Extremism, the Statement by the SCO Heads of State on Joint Counteraction to International Terrorism, the Joint Action Plan for Implementing the Programme for the SCO Member States Cooperation in Tourism for 2017-2018, the Memorandum of Understanding between the SCO Secretariat and the International Committee of the Red Cross, and seven decisions by the SCO Heads of State Council.

4. The participants underscored the historic significance of expanding the association. The corresponding decisions by the SCO Heads of State Council granted India and Pakistan full membership in the Organisation. The Heads of State spoke in favour of further deepening mutually beneficial cooperation with the SCO observer states and the SCO dialogue partners across all areas of interest.

5. The Heads of State believe it is important to further strengthen the SCO as an effective full-fledged regional organisation designed to actively participate in forming a more equitable polycentric world order that meets the interests of each and all states, to promote the democratisation of international relations, to create an effective global and regional architecture of security and cooperation, and to form a shared future community for humankind.

6. The meeting participants reiterated their commitment to addressing conflict situations in various regions of the world through exclusively political and diplomatic means based on strict observance of the universally recognised norms and principles of international law.

7. They expressed their support for the efforts of the government and the people of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to establish a peaceful, stable and economically prosperous state that is free from terrorism, extremism and drug trafficking. They also pointed out the central coordinating role of the UN in the international efforts to stabilise and develop this country.

8. The Heads of State spoke in favour of a political settlement in the Syrian Arab Republic through a broad-based intra-Syrian dialogue based on the provisions of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions. They are convinced that the Astana process will help create proper conditions for all interested parties to find an acceptable solution to the Syria crisis within the framework of the Geneva process and under the auspices of the United Nations.

9. The Heads of State positively assessed the efforts to implement the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to resolve the situation surrounding the Iranian nuclear programme between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the six international mediators with the participation of the European Union.

10. The Heads of State spoke in favour of reaching a settlement of the Ukraine crisis as soon as possible on the basis of full compliance with the Package of Measures to Implement the Minsk Agreements of 12 February 2015.

11. The Heads of State underscored the importance of further expanding the SCO's multilateral cooperation with the UN, its specialised institutions, the CICA, the CSTO, the CIS, ASEAN, and other international and regional organisations and associations.

12. The Heads of State spoke in favour of strict observance of the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and other universally recognised norms of international law aimed at maintaining peace and security, promoting cooperation between states, strengthening independence, ensuring the right of nations to determine their own destiny and paths of political, socioeconomic and cultural development.

13. The Heads of State welcomed the activities of the Republic of Kazakhstan as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2017-2018.

14. The Heads of State reiterated the commitment of the SCO Member States to strengthening the central coordinating role of the UN in international relations.

15. The Heads of State emphasised the importance of strict compliance with the provisions of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. They are convinced that the expedited entry into force of the Protocol on Security Assurances to the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia for all signatories will make a significant contribution to ensuring regional security and strengthening the global non-proliferation regime.

16. The meeting participants stressed the determination of the SCO Member States to step up joint efforts to counter common security challenges and threats, and to deepen dialogue and cooperation with a view towards ensuring comprehensive security.

17. The meeting participants underscored the importance of the early adoption of the UN Comprehensive Convention on Combating International Terrorism, as well as ratification of 19 UN universal legal instruments against terrorism with account taken of the national interests of the SCO Member States.

18. The Heads of State said that the SCO Convention on Countering Extremism, signed on 9 June 2017 in Astana, will help strengthen the international legal framework to confront new challenges and threats. The SCO Convention on Countering Extremism is designed to strengthen the security of all SCO Member States, to increase the effectiveness of cooperation between their security services and to improve legislation in this area.

19. The Heads of State spoke in favour of developing within the UN a universal code of rules, principles and norms of responsible behaviour of states in the information space.

20. The Heads of State underlined the importance of expanding cooperation in combating crimes in the information and communication sphere and called for developing a corresponding international legal instrument with the central coordinating role of the UN.

21. The Heads of State consider it important to bolster the policy of strengthening their own economic capacity and implementing long-term development strategies. They spoke in favour of developing broad international cooperation with an eye toward implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

22. The Heads of State accentuated the importance of initiatives aimed at creating a favourable environment for promoting regional economic interaction and facilitating the search for innovative international cooperation models.

23. The Heads of State welcomed the One Belt One Road initiative and, praising highly the outcomes of the Belt and Road International Cooperation Forum held in Beijing on 14-15 May 2017, spoke in favour of implementing them, including by way of coordinating international, regional, and national projects geared toward establishing cooperation for sustainable development based on the principles of mutual respect, equality, and mutual benefit.

24. The Heads of State noted the importance of continuing expert consultations regarding the establishment of the SCO Development Bank and the SCO Development Fund (Special Account) with a view to providing financial support for joint projects within the SCO.

25. Advocating the improvement of multilateral cooperation in the sphere of transport, the Heads of State underscored the need for the planned practical implementation of the SCO Member States Agreement on Facilitation of International Road Transport.

26. The Heads of State stressed the importance of active participation of the SCO Business Council and the SCO Interbank Consortium in implementing multilateral projects.

27. The cultural and humanitarian component of the Organisation's activities is of particular importance in further improving relations based on neighbourliness, friendship and cooperation. In this regard, the SCO members will continue to focus on stepping up cooperation in areas such as healthcare, culture, environmental protection, scientific research, technology, innovation, sports, and tourism.

28. The Heads of State underlined the importance of the SCO participation in the International Specialised Exhibition EXPO-2017 with the theme "Energy of the Future", and congratulated President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev on successfully hosting the 28th Winter Universiade 2017.

29. The next SCO Heads of State Council meeting will be held in the People's Republic of China in June 2018. The SCO presidency for the coming period will pass to the People's Republic of China.

30. The heads of state greatly appreciated the Republic of Kazakhstan's SCO presidency and expressed their gratitude to Kazakhstan for its hospitality during the Astana meetings.

31. The Republic of Kazakhstan's SCO presidency received deserved high praise. In the run-up to the summit, President Nazarbayev himself and the government of Kazakhstan made their interest in making the summit a success felt by everyone. Suffice it to say that during the 345 days of Kazakhstan's presidency, more than 300 events of various levels and areas of focus were held, crowned by the Astana SCO Summit. Indeed, it was an outstanding period of activities across all areas of the SCO's terms of reference.

32. First, the SCO achievements and successes were presented at over 100 different international conferences, forums and venues in Asia, Europe and America during Kazakhstan's presidency.

33. Second, during Kazakhstan's presidency, the SCO's interaction with the UN was taken to the next level. The first ever high-level meetings between the SCO and the UN were held at the UN Headquarters in New York and the UN Vienna Office. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the strengthening of cooperation between the UN and the SCO.

34. In closing, I would also like to inform you that an Information Message was adopted following the SCO Heads of State Council Meeting, which is an official document of the summit, the full text of which is now available on the SCO Secretariat's website at www.sectsco.org.

Thank you.