Tashkent_StationNia S. Amira
[email protected]

On 23-24 June 2016, a meeting of the Council of Heads of Member States of the Shanghai Coopera­tion Organization under the Presi­dency of Uzbekistan took place at the Kuk­saroy residence.

Central Asia is the core region of the Asian continent and stretches from the Cas­pian Sea in the west to China in the east and from Afghanistan in the south to Russia in the north. It is also sometimes referred to as Middle Asia, and, colloquially, “the ‘stans” (as the six countries generally considered to be within the region all have names end­ing with the Persian suffix “-stan”, meaning “land of”) and is within the scope of the wider Eurasian continent.

Central Asia has a strategic location and has great power in nation. The population of the five republics of the former Soviet Union contributes the power of human resources in the region namely: Kazakhstan (17 mil­lion), Kyrgyzstan (5.7 million), Tajikistan (8 million), Turkmenistan (5.2 million), and Uzbekistan (30 million), a total population of about 66 million as of 2013–2014. Afghani­stan with its population of 31.1 million is also sometimes included.

It was on 15 June 2001, The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was estab­lished in Shanghai based on the Declara­tion on establishing the SCO, signed by the “stans” namely Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, also China and Rus­sia. The main goals and tasks of the organi­zation were defined as consolidating mutual trust, friendship and good neighborhood, development of cooperation in political, trade-economic, scientific-technical, cultur­al-humanitarian, power energy, transport and other spheres, ensuring peace, security and stability in the region.

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The 2016 SCO summit started with a meeting of the Heads of member-states of the SCO in a narrow format. President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov chaired the meeting which was attended by President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of the Peo­ple’s Republic of China Xi Jinping, President of the Kyrgyz Republic Almazbek Atam­bayev, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon.

The issues of further developing trade-economic partnership among the member-states of the Shanghai Cooperation Or­ganization, enhancing the SCO activities, strengthening regional security and stabil­ity, fight against terrorism, religious extrem­ism and separatism were discussed at the meeting.

The SCO Charter provides that member-states comply with the principles of respect for independence, territorial integrity and inviolability of borders, equality, mutual understanding, non-interference in inter­nal affairs, non-use of force in international relations and settling disputes peacefully. SCO, as an authoritative intergovernmental organization, has a strong place in the inter­national arena, it has become an effective mechanism of multilateral cooperation.

Uzbekistan, as one of the founding states, having a huge economic and geopo­litical potential, plays a special role in its ac­tivities. Uzbekistan considers the SCO as an important means of developing trade and economic ties, cultural and humanitarian cooperation as well as strengthening region­al security, fight against terrorism, extrem­ism, drug trafficking and weapons.

This is the third time Uzbekistan has chaired in the Shanghai Cooperation Orga­nization, before lead the SCO in 2003-2004 and 2009-2010. During its first presidency in the SCO, Uzbekistan enriched the organi­zation with substance; with the frameworks of the summit in Tashkent on 17 June 2004, The Executive Committee of the Regional Antiterrorist Structure was established. The regular meetings of Secretaries of Security Councils have been launched.

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At the summit in 2004 the Convention on the powers and immunities of the SCO, the Agreement on cooperation in combat­ing illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. Pakistan, India, Iran and Mongolia were present as the ob­server. At the initiative of President Islam Karimov the President of Afghanistan was invited as a guest for the first time to the summit and later on, Afghanistan received its status of observer. The Republic of India and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan have obtained the SCO member state status at the Tashkent summit and it was an important stage in the process of expanding the SCO.

The second presidency of Uzbekistan also raised the activity of the SCO to the next level. During his visit to Uzbekistan in April 2010, Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon signed a Joint Decla­ration on Cooperation between the Secre­tariats of the SCO and the United Nations, which served as the basis for the relation­ship of the SCO with this global structure.

During the Tashkent summit, held on 11 June 2010, important documents – SCO Rules of Procedure and the Regulations on the procedure for admitting new members to the SCO were adopted.