At the invitation of Kyrgyzstan, which is currently presiding at the SCO, a delegation of the SCO Secretariat took part in the third meeting of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, on 19 April.
About 40 representatives from eight SCO member states as well as from Afghanistan and the Executive Committee of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure participated in the meeting co-chaired by Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan.
Foreign Minister of Kyrgyzstan Chingiz Aidarbekov and Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Salahuddin Rabbani greeted those present at the meeting. In their welcome remarks the foreign ministers declared their further backing of all the efforts and initiatives aimed at a speedy achievement of peace and the strengthening of regional security. It was noted that the relations between the SCO member states and Kabul have deep historical roots and that these countries have always had warm feelings toward each other.
The SCO Secretariat was represented by Deputy Secretary-General Vladimir Potapenko. In his remarks he pointed out that the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group meeting is making a major contribution to the joint efforts at the interregional and international levels with a view to facilitate the achievement of lasting peace, security and sustainable development in Afghanistan.
The participants discussed the current military-political situation in Afghanistan, the process of intra-Afghan reconciliation, the development of cooperation between the SCO member states and other matters.
One of the key topics of the discussion at the event was the draft Road Map for further action by the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group.
Deputy Foreign Minister of Kyrgyzstan Nurlan Abdrakhmanov and Deputy Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Idrees Zaman signed a Protocol on the results of the event.
The SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group was established in 2005 but its activity was suspended in 2009. This meeting is the third one after the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group resumed functioning in 2017. The previous meetings were held in Moscow on 11 October 2017 and in Beijing on 28 May 2018. Based on the established practice the meeting is held at the level of Deputy Foreign Ministers of the SCO member states and Afghanistan.