Islamabad, November 10, 2020 (PPI-OT): Prime Minister Imran Khan participated in the 20th Shanghai Cooperation Organization Council of Heads of State (SCO-CHS), today in video conference format. The meeting was chaired by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Other participating leaders included Chinese President Xi Jinping. The SCO-CHS is the highest forum of SCO. It adopts documents and decisions that provide policy guidelines for determining priorities and major areas of activities of the Organization.
In his remarks during the Summit meeting, Prime Minister Imran Khan shared Pakistan’s perspective on a range of global and regional issues – including Covid-19, multilateralism and UN’s role, need for implementation of UNSC Resolutions for peaceful settlement of outstanding disputes, Afghan peace process, countering terrorism, combating Islamophobia, stemming illicit financial flows, addressing climate change, poverty alleviation and role of youth.
The Prime Minister underscored the imperative of common approaches to limit the spread of infectious diseases, ameliorate their effects, and develop potential remedies. He emphasized the central role of WHO in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and offered to share Pakistan’s experience in combating the pandemic in an effective manner. The Prime Minister also lauded China’s effective handling of the pandemic and thanked China for extending material and technical support to other countries, including Pakistan, in their efforts to contain the virus. The Prime Minister also highlighted China-Pakistan collaboration in vaccine development.
The Prime Minister highlighted his “Global Initiative for Debt Relief” for developing countries to mitigate adverse economic effects of the pandemic. Welcoming measures taken by G20 and the International Financial Institutions, the Prime Minister stressed the need for further steps to help improve liquidity in developing countries and restore growth. The Prime Minister highlighted the importance of CPEC in SCO’s vision of regional connectivity and economic integration, especially in complementing SCO’s pivotal role in the emerging confluence between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union.
The Prime Minister reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to the central role of the United Nations in maintaining international peace and security and advancing global sustainable development. He particularly stressed the importance of faithful implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions as a pre-requisite for creating an environment of stability and cooperation. The Prime Minister called for strong condemnation and resolute opposition of unilateral and illegal measures to change the status of disputed territories in violation of UNSC resolutions.
The Prime Minister reiterated that there was no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and that a negotiated political settlement was the best way forward. He reaffirmed Pakistan’s steadfast support for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process. Referring to Pakistan’s positive contribution in facilitating the U.S.-Taliban Peace Agreement, the Prime Minister called upon the Afghan stakeholders to seize this historic opportunity to secure an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement. He added that reduction in violence was absolutely imperative, which would help strengthen the momentum of recent positive developments. The Prime Minister warned against the role of “spoilers” both within and outside Afghanistan.
He stressed that the return of Afghan refugees to their homeland with dignity and honour should be an essential part of the peace negotiations. The Prime Minister expressed support for SCO’s call for effective implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian nuclear issue. He welcomed SCO’s emphasis on data security and conveyed strong support for China’s Global Digital Data Security Initiative. The Prime Minister called for condemnation and accountability of perpetrators of state terrorism against people living under illegal occupation in disputed territories.
He said that it was wrong to use terrorism-related allegations as a political tool to malign and target any country, religion or race. The Prime Minister underscored the importance of learning lessons from the victory against Nazism and Fascism during the Second World War, steadfastly opposing all extremist and xenophobic tendencies, including racist ideologies inspired by neo-Nazism and Islamophobia and called for focusing on building interfaith and cross-cultural bridges.
The Prime Minister stressed that wilful provocations and incitement to hate, especially on religious grounds, should be universally outlawed. The Prime Minister urged the SCO member states to continue to call for mutual respect of all religions and beliefs and for fostering a culture of fraternity and peace. The Prime Minister welcomed SCO’s focus on fighting corruption and economic crimes. Advocating firm opposition to illicit financial flows from developing countries, which impoverish these nations and severely retard their development endeavours, he called for efforts to bring back the stolen wealth to enable the affected nations realize their legitimate aspirations for development and a hopeful future.
The Prime Minister stressed the importance of providing relief to the poor segments of the society. In this context, he thanked all members for supporting Pakistan’s initiative for establishment of an SCO Special Working Group on Poverty Alleviation. The Prime Minister called for pooling of efforts to fight the threat posed by climate change. He stressed the importance of fulfilment of all commitments made in the Paris Agreement, in particular the commitment to mobilize US$ 100 billion annually as climate finance.
He also highlighted Pakistan’s “Ecosystem Restoration Initiative” which includes the planting of 10 billion trees over the next three years. The Prime Minister expressed Pakistan’s gratification on becoming a member of the SCO Youth Council and said that Pakistan highly valued cooperation in tapping the immense potential of our youth and involving them in the socio-economic uplift of our societies.
The Prime Minister proposed a six-point way forward: (i) creating a knowledge-bank of best practices to guide the member states through the second wave of COVID-19 and beyond; (ii) working out a Strategy and an SCO Action Plan to mitigate the adverse economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic in the short, medium and long-term, including by prioritizing an SCO unified framework for emergency preparedness developed in consultation with WHO; (iii) taking a united stand that the COVID-19 vaccine must be viewed as a “global public good”, affordable and accessible to all; (iv) member states should call for more measures by G20 to meet common challenges like the climate change, deteriorating environment, widening inequality within and among nations, poverty, disease, hunger and sustainable development.
This should include measures to stop financial outflows from developing countries to off-shore bank accounts in rich countries; (v) formulation of a multi-year SCO Youth Strategy with a focus on building partnerships among educational institutions; and (vi) development of SCO Partnership for Technology offering scholarships and exchange programmes for youth in the scientific field. The SCO-CHS adopted 16 documents including the Moscow Declaration that highlights common position of all member states on issues of regional and global importance.
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