SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov’s remarks at the Moscow Conference on International Security

SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov’s remarks at the Moscow Conference on International Security

Mr Chairman, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

1. First of all, I would like to thank the Russian Defence Ministry for inviting me to take part in this conference, the significance of which is defined by its representativenes and global agenda.

2. Today the world is facing increased instability; there is the threat of a new round in the arms race; conflicts are escalating in several regions.

The threat posed by international terrorist and extremist organisations to peace and stability in the vast Eurasian space continues to grow, as evidenced by the terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka.

In addition, attempts are being made to spark a religious conflict.

At the same time, we are witnessing the erosion of the system of international relations and the undermining of the UN's role as a universal multilateral organisation supporting international peace and security.

3. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, while acquiring the traits of a transcontinental organisation, strictly adheres to the goals and principles of the UN Charter and supports strengthening the Security Council's key role as the main body responsible for preserving international peace and security.

4. In waging the fight against international terrorism, all countries must step up their efforts to create a joint anti-terrorism front under the UN's centralised coordination.

5. Today the SCO member states are confronting the danger of militant groups ready to continue carrying out terrorist and extremist attacks against them after their forces return from hotspots in the Middle East, including attacks launched from third countries.

There is a trend towards the merging of terrorist groups and international criminal organisations.

New methods of financing the activities of terrorist and extremist organisations are appearing.

In this situation, we are witnessing the growth of the SCO's strategic role in the coordinated effort to develop collective approaches for the international community to effectively confront global and regional challenges.

Especially important is the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure in Tashkent, which is responsible for the comprehensive coordination of the fight against terrorism and extremism in the SCO space, as well as for success in the security sphere.

6. India and Pakistan joining the SCO has taken the organisation to a new level.

We can see how rapidly they are integrating into the SCO's activities.

The readiness of our Indian and Pakistani colleagues for full-scale cooperation significantly increases the potential of the SCO's multifaceted cooperation.

The Organisation affirms its readiness to step up cooperation with observer states and dialogue partners and to expand interaction with international and regional organisations such as the UN, CIS, CSTO, CICA and ASEAN.

7. We believe it is of the utmost importance to combine our efforts to counter the recruitment of young people in terrorist, separatist and extremist groups, including via the internet.

8. At the same time, we recognise how important it is to establish an open and cooperation-based information space.

We proceed from the premise that equal participation of all countries in the internet's development and governance is absolutely necessary.

9. While not a military bloc, the SCO believes regular anti-terrorism military exercises to be very important.

The SCO recognises the leading role of the Russian Ministry of Defence in the success of the Peaceful Mission anti-terrorism exercises held last August on the Chebarkul range.

10. We are deeply concerned by the growing production and illegal use of drugs and the role of drug trafficking in financing terrorism.

Over the last five years, the SCO member states have confiscated 40 percent of all the drugs confiscated in Eurasia.

At the same time, the trend towards legalising cannabis for recreational use in a number of countries, which violates international drug control conventions, raises serious concerns.

We are in favour of developing joint actions to combat the illegal distribution of drugs and their precursors.

11. The Organisation supports the efforts of the Afghan government and people to provide security, support economic development in their country, and fight terrorism, extremism and drug trafficking.

Peace in that country can only be achieved via political dialogue among Afghans, led by Afghans, with the UN playing the central coordinating role.

We praise the results of the meetings of the SCO — Afghanistan Contact Group in Moscow and Beijing as well as its third meeting in Bishkek held last week. We are developing a road map for the contact group's further actions.

We regard the launch of the Tashkent Process as an important contribution to the process of restoring peace and stability in the country.

The Moscow meeting has provided a unique opportunity to launch an intra-Afghan dialogue.

Colleagues,

12. Today we are preparing for the next SCO summit, which will take place this June in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan.

Our countries' leaders will formulate consolidated approaches to current international problems and set new tasks in response to developments in the region and the world.

In conclusion, I would like to wish a productive conference to all participants.

Thank you for your attention.