Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan Murat Nurtleu,
Foreign ministers of SCO members states,
Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Republic of Kazakhstan Ali Akbar Jokar,
Director of the Executive Committee of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure Ruslan Mirzaev.
First, I would like to express my deepest condolences in connection with the tragic death in a helicopter crash of President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, His Excellency Ebrahim Raisi and our distinguished colleague, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian to their families and friends, as well as to the people of Iran.
It is a great honour and privilege for me to attend this SCO Foreign Ministers Council meeting. I would like to thank Kazakhstan for its fruitful efforts to organise this meeting.
The Secretariat has been diligent and effective in carrying out its duties, supporting the country holding the SCO presidency and other member states. It took part in over 140 events of various kinds since the previous SCO Foreign Ministers Council meeting in Panaji, Goa, Republic of India, in May 2023, including those involving the organisation’s statutory mechanisms. Over this period, our cooperation on political and security matters, economics and international, cultural and humanitarian affairs, as well as efforts to upgrade the SCO operations picked up pace and gathered additional momentum, while the SCO principles benefited from an even broader acceptance and support.
Iran completed its official accession to the SCO during last year’s summit in New Delhi. I would like to offer my greetings to Iran and congratulate it on taking part in today’s meeting for the first time as a member state. I would also like to welcome Foreign Minister Sergei Oleinik, who represents the Republic of Belarus. His country is expected to become an SCO member state at the Astana summit. Over the reporting period, two countries –Algeria and Laos – applied for SCO Dialogue Partner status.
The SCO has carried on with its efforts to expand it international ties. Last year, the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly adopted yet another resolution titled “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.” Last February, the SCO Secretariat signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), making UNEP SCO’s seventh partner UN body. I took part in the UN General Assembly in September 2023 at the invitation of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, as well as in the meeting of special envoys on Afghanistan in February 2024 in Doha.
As for the SCO’s outreach efforts, the Secretariat speaks out on behalf of the Organisation on topical international and regional matters by attending international and regional conferences and taking part in multilateral forums, publishing statements by its Secretary-General and media interviews. All this demonstrates the SCO’s growing prestige and influence.
This year, the SCO Secretariat marked its 20th anniversary. I would like to thank the foreign ministers for their congratulations, particularly Mr Wang Yi for attending the reception and offering his heartfelt congratulations on this occasion.
Your Excellencies foreign ministers,
Today’s world is going through complex and deep-running transformations. While all the focus is on promoting peace and development, we are witnessing growing instability and uncertainty with terrorism still posing a threat to the international community, and many countries still facing economic pressure.
Against this backdrop, the SCO has found itself in a challenging geopolitical environment. However, I view this as an opportunity rather than a challenge. But in order to convert these challenges into opportunities, we must reaffirm our unwavering commitment to the Shanghai spirit which must guide us in all our actions, as well as step up our political coordination, solidarity and cooperation, while contributing to bringing about a world order with better justice for all, also based on equality and multipolarity by seeking guidance from our fundamental principles and values, as well as by effectively acting on them.
We will continue to strengthen our security cooperation, including by further improving the corresponding mechanisms for countering present-day challenges and threats, primarily in terms of dealing with the so-called three forces of evil.
We are committed to promoting economic cooperation and creating the necessary conditions for speeding up the circulation of goods, capital, services and technology.
At the same time, we will encourage humanitarian exchanges for strengthening mutual understanding among the people of our member countries.
In keeping with the latest trends, the SCO is committed to expanding its network of partners and international ties, as well as increasing its prestige and influence.
We must keep pace with the time and accelerate efforts to reach our strategic goals in terms of improving SCO operations in order to deliver on its development vision.
Foreign Ministers,
This is my last SCO Foreign Ministers Council meeting as SCO Secretary-General. I am certain that the Secretariat will be effective, competent and rigorous in its efforts to promote the interests, goals and objectives of the SCO and its member states. It is for this reason that we have reinforced the Secretariat’s internal management structures and adopted stricter and more far-reaching rules and regulations. With China’s assistance, we will soon complete the project to create and launch an e-document workflow system within the Secretariat.
I strongly believe that one of the imperatives in terms of perfecting the SCO operations deals with giving a bigger role to the Secretary-General and upgrading the human resources policy within the Secretariat by expanding its staff, which also means increasing the SCO budget. We also need to create new departments within the Secretariat and reinforce the existing ones for insuring translations and protocol services, dealing with legal matters and media communications.
We hope that you will demonstrate your understanding of and support for these undertakings.
The fact that Kazakhstan nominated SCO Deputy Secretary-General Nurlan Yermekbayev to become the eight SCO Secretary-General is a source of great pride and joy for me. A seasoned politician and excellent diplomat, Nurlan Yermekbayev has a wealth of experience in dealing with political, security and diplomatic matters. He is also a great manager. I have no doubt that he will live up to the expectations of the SCO member states.
In conclusion, I would like to thank the member states and their foreign ministers for their resolve in supporting and accompanying our efforts and the Secretariat’s activities. My team and I will do everything we can to develop the SCO and further expand cooperation between member states.
Thank you for your attention.