Nia S. Amira
On 23-24 June 2016, a meeting of the Council of Heads of Member States of the Shanghai CooperaÂtion Organization under the PresiÂdency of Uzbekistan took place at the KukÂsaroy residence.
Central Asia is the core region of the Asian continent and stretches from the CasÂpian 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, â€œthe â€˜stansâ€ (as the six countries generally considered to be within the region all have names endÂing with the Persian suffix â€œ-stanâ€, meaning â€œland ofâ€) 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 milÂlion), Kyrgyzstan (5.7 million), Tajikistan (8 million), Turkmenistan (5.2 million), and Uzbekistan (30 million), a total population of about 66 million as of 2013â€“2014. AfghaniÂstan with its population of 31.1 million is also sometimes included.
It was on 15 June 2001, The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was estabÂlished in Shanghai based on the DeclaraÂtion on establishing the SCO, signed by the â€œstansâ€ namely Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, also China and RusÂsia. The main goals and tasks of the organiÂzation were defined as consolidating mutual trust, friendship and good neighborhood, development of cooperation in political, trade-economic, scientific-technical, culturÂal-humanitarian, power energy, transport and other spheres, ensuring peace, security and stability in the region.
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 PeoÂpleâ€™s Republic of China Xi Jinping, President of the Kyrgyz Republic Almazbek AtamÂbayev, 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 OrÂganization, enhancing the SCO activities, strengthening regional security and stabilÂity, fight against terrorism, religious extremÂism 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 interÂnal affairs, non-use of force in international relations and settling disputes peacefully. SCO, as an authoritative intergovernmental organization, has a strong place in the interÂnational arena, it has become an effective mechanism of multilateral cooperation.
Uzbekistan, as one of the founding states, having a huge economic and geopoÂlitical potential, plays a special role in its acÂtivities. Uzbekistan considers the SCO as an important means of developing trade and economic ties, cultural and humanitarian cooperation as well as strengthening regionÂal security, fight against terrorism, extremÂism, drug trafficking and weapons.
This is the third time Uzbekistan has chaired in the Shanghai Cooperation OrgaÂnization, before lead the SCO in 2003-2004 and 2009-2010. During its first presidency in the SCO, Uzbekistan enriched the organiÂzation 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.
At the summit in 2004 the Convention on the powers and immunities of the SCO, the Agreement on cooperation in combatÂing illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. Pakistan, India, Iran and Mongolia were present as the obÂserver. 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 DeclaÂration on Cooperation between the SecreÂtariats of the SCO and the United Nations, which served as the basis for the relationÂship 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.
On July 11, 2015 the presidency in the organization was passed to the Republic of Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan along with Member States, has carried out significant work on expansion of cooperation to be better coorÂdination of relationships, strengthening the role of the organization in the international arena.
Uzbekistan paid special attention to imÂproving the efficiency of the organization through the development of international relations of the SCO. The Heads of State disÂcussed the main results of the 15 years-long activity of the SCO.
At the meeting it was stressed that inÂternational terrorism, extremism and their other manifestations are now a growing threat for all countries of the world and the intention of the SCO summit is also to counÂter these challenges only by strengthening the joint cooperation and consolidation of efforts of the world community.
In accordance with the provisions of the Charter and other documents of the SCO, the means of delivery of the developÂment and implementation of measures will continue to be a priority area of interaction within the organization.
The need to intensify joint ef for t s to create a safe, fair and open information space, relyÂing on the principles of cooperation and respect for national sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries was underlined.
Particular attention was paid to exchanging experiÂence on effectively counterÂing a slowdown of the economy, introducÂtion of innovative technologies, formation of a favorable investment and business cliÂmate, implementation of long-term mutuÂally beneficial projects in the priority areas of cooperation and infrastructure developÂment as well as to develop cooperation in transport communications, energy, culture and other areas.
The heads of delegations of the SCO obÂserver states – President of the Islamic ReÂpublic of Afghanistan Ashraf Gani, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, Prime Minister of the Republic of India Narendra Modi, President of Mongolia Tsakhiagiin ElÂbegdorj, President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain, Minister of ForÂeign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif and the guest of the presiding state – President of TurkmeniÂstan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov also atÂtended the extended meeting of the SCO summit.
UN Under-Secretary-General Jeffrey FeltÂman, Chairman of the Executive Committee – Executive Secretary of the Commonwealth of Independent States Sergey Lebedev, SecÂretary General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization Nikolay Bordyuzha, ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh and Executive Director of the Secretariat of Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building measures in Asia Gong Jianwei were also present.
The Heads of State welcomed the signÂing of memoranda on granting the SCO Dialogue Partner status to the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Armenia, the Kingdom of Cambodia and Nepal.
Following the summit meeting, the Tashkent Declaration of the Fifteenth AnÂniversary of the SCO, the Action Plan 2016- 2020 for the implementation of the SCO DeÂvelopment Strategy towards 2025, Program on Development of Cooperation of the SCO Member States in the Sphere of Tourism and other documents were signed.
Republic of Uzbekistan gained high apÂpreciation during its presidency in the SCO. President Islam Karimov pointed out in front of the media that the meeting was held in the spirit of mutual trust and respect, the reached agreements and will serve the interÂests of the SCO member states and observer countries.
SCO Secretary-General Rashid Alimov emphasized the historical importance of UzÂbekistanâ€™s presidency in the organization, high level of organization of all activities in the framework of its presidency and the SCO Tashkent summit as a whole. He expressed his sincere gratitude to the people and leadÂership of Uzbekistan.
The Tashkent SCO summit concluded its work. Surely, it takes a special place in the history of the SCO as a summit at which imÂportant agreements were reached in order to enhance the efficiency of the organizaÂtion, promoting regional cooperation and strengthening security. The Republic of KaÂzakhstan shall take over the presidency in the Organization for the upcoming period.Bagi Halaman