Press release on the meeting of SCO foreign ministers via video conference

Statement by the SCO Foreign Ministers Concerning the Spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

On 13 May, under the chairmanship of Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) held a meeting via video conference.

The ministers focused on the priority tasks aimed at developing the SCO's activities in the context of the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). They stressed the importance of promoting international cooperation in order to overcome the social, trade and economic aftershock of COVID-19 and prevent its impact on regional and global security and stability. They reaffirmed their readiness to further promote the SCO's efforts to help reach a political settlement in Afghanistan as soon as possible.

The ministers spoke in favour of strengthening the SCO coordination within the UN and other multilateral platforms, including during events to mark the 75th anniversary of the Victory in WWII and the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.

The ministers had a detailed discussion on the implementation of Russia's Action Plan for its presidency at the organisation with an emphasis on the preparations for the SCO Summit in St Petersburg.

Following the video conference, a Statement of the SCO Foreign Ministers was adopted.

Please see the Statement by the SCO Foreign Ministers below

Statement by the SCO Foreign Ministers Concerning the Spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation member states are deeply concerned about the dangerous spread of the novel coronavirus in the world, which continues to cause more human losses and significant socioeconomic damage. While stressing the responsibility of every state to ensure the sanitary and epidemiological wellbeing of the population, the ministers believe that fighting the COVID-19 pandemic requires decisive, well-coordinated and inclusive multilateral action with the United Nations system retaining its central role. In this context, the ministers noted efficient cooperation between the SCO and the WHO and other international organisations and associations fighting the coronavirus.

The ministers underscore the importance of the outcome of the emergency G20 summit aimed at protecting lives, restoring the stability of the global economy and stimulating its further sustainable growth. While relying on the UN General Assembly resolutions, adopted by consensus, on global solidarity and international cooperation against COVID-19, it is important to insist on UN-developed universal approaches to solving the above-stated tasks in accordance with international law, including creating free, just, non-discriminatory, transparent and stable conditions for trade and investment. The serious economic problems in developing countries caused by the pandemic require special attention.

The ministers note the efforts of the Session of Heads of Sanitary and Epidemiological Welfare Services of the SCO Member States aimed at implementing the 10 June 2018 Statement by the Heads of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Member States on Joint Efforts Against the Threat of Epidemics in the SCO Space. They welcome the efficient mutual support which, on the basis of the Shanghai spirit, the SCO member states are offering each other during the COVID-19 pandemic with respect to providing their citizens with medical, social and other protection.

In order to ensure sanitary and epidemiological wellbeing and biological security in the region, the ministers find it reasonable to adopt a comprehensive action plan for the SCO member states at the upcoming SCO summit in St Petersburg which will, among other things, provide for increasing the capacity of laboratories, improving the qualifications of specialists, conducting joint scientific research, and developing vaccines and efficient medical treatments.

13 May 2020