On 6-7 November 2019, Tashkent hosted the seventh scientific and practical conference of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO RATS).
The event brought together delegates from the concerned authorities of the SCO member states, observer states and dialogue partners, as well as international organisations such as the UN, the CIS, the OSCE, the CSTO and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA).
The SCO Secretariat was represented by SCO Deputy Secretary-General Xie Xiaoyong, who read out a message of greetings from SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov, and expert Gulmira Kenebayeva.
Vladimir Norov wrote in his message about the importance of the conference as a vital component of cooperation in the fight against three evils. "These annual RATS conferences have become a traditional event, which confirms the importance of this format for the strengthening of multilateral counterterrorism cooperation, information exchange and practical efforts to combat current security threats and challenges," the SCO Secretary-General noted.
The message also highlighted the fundamental importance of developing and enhancing effective cooperation to maintain global security, as well as to improve the instruments of combating the challenges of international terrorism and related extremism. In this context, Vladimir Norov noted the importance of the Bishkek Declaration adopted at the recent SCO summit, in which the SCO leaders clearly expressed their resolve to combat this evil together with the increasing challenges and security threats such as transnational organised crime, arms and human trafficking, cybercrime and illegal trade in narcotic drugs.
The SCO Secretary-General pointed out the vital need to strengthen cyber security in order to prevent the proliferation of radical ideology as a tool for recruitment. He wrote about the humanitarian aspects of the fight against terrorism with the aim of preventing young people from being influenced by terrorist ideology, and about the special role of international and regional organisations, cooperation with which helps to rally the international community against terrorism and extremism under the central guidance of the UN.
Vladimir Norov also drew attention to the implementation of the Roadmap for Further Action of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group, which is aimed, in part, at eradicating the international terrorist movement based in the country and at coordinating measures to pinpoint and remove local terrorist threats to the SCO member states.
"I would like to point out the consistent and effective work of SCO RATS, which is coordinating the development of system-wide measures for eradicating the terrorist underground, blocking the channels of financial, material and technical assistance to terrorism and preventing online recruitment of new members. SCO RATS is respected as one of the most successful Eurasian mechanisms in this sphere and as a reliable instrument for ensuring the security of our countries and their citizens," reads the message from the SCO Secretary-General.
The conference participants exchanged details of the counterterrorism experience that their countries had accumulated and discussed the scientific and applied aspects of international cooperation in the fight against the challenges and threats posed by international terrorist organisations.
They noted that the fight against terrorism and extremism should be waged on the basis of international law and the principle of non-acceptability of double standards.
The scientific and practical conference of the SCO's Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) is an annual event held in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, since 2013 to discuss current tasks in the field of countering the threat of international terrorism.