ASTANA – Yerik Ashimov, Kazakhstan’s permanent delegate to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Secretariat, spoke about the priorities and plans of his country’s chairmanship at a Nov. 3 symposium in Beijing, according to Kazinform.
He focused particularly on the nation’s attitude towards counterterrorism efforts at an event devoted to SCO’s 15th anniversary and the 10th anniversary of the SCO Studies Centre.
“We need to make maximum efforts to ensure effective implementation of the SCO Programme on Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism for 2016-2018 and to maintain regional security and stability. In recent years, Internet use has increased significantly to spread propaganda of extremist ideas. Therefore, it seems very important to approve the SCO convention aimed at combating extremism as soon as possible,” said Ashimov.
He added Kazakhstan is deeply concerned about drug trafficking and the spread of new types of psychoactive substances.
“We shall pay particular attention to the coordination of the SCO anti-drug strategy and the action programme for its implementation,” he said.
An unstable financial and economic situation in the region and the world generally requires more effective SCO trade and economic cooperation. Ashimov believes the SCO Business Council and SCO Interbank Association may facilitate developing business relations.
“We are convinced that the early launch of the SCO Development Bank and SCO special account will speed up the implementation of mutually-beneficial investment projects. I would like to draw attention to Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s initiative on creating a Eurasian transit and transport hub. We recognise that early entry into force of the agreement between the SCO member states’ governments on establishing favourable conditions for international road transport and approval of the SCO road development plan will enhance international cooperation,” he said.
Ashimov noted the need to develop partnerships between the SCO and Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) amid ongoing economic integration. The former’s involvement in the formation of a Single Economic Space will allow overcoming trade barriers and accelerating the integration process and, generally, give additional impetus to the economic development of all SCO member states.
He reiterated Kazakhstan is considering cultural and humanitarian cooperation within the SCO.
“In this regard, we are offering to create the SCO Council for Cultural Convergence, which will promote the culture and traditions of the SCO countries, demonstrate the benefits of cultural diversity and strengthen cross-cultural exchanges and commonly-shared values,” he said.
In 2017, Kazakhstan will host Education without Borders, SCO’s 11th Week of Education to enhance scientific and educational cooperation among member countries. Plans are also underway to hold a youth forum and SCO Youth Council meeting. Participants are expected to discuss developing sports and tourism, as well as cooperation in green technology. The forum will be one of the biggest events organised during Kazakhstan’s chairmanship.
This year, the Kazakh Embassy joined with the SCO Secretariat to adopt the action plan for 2016-2017 to enhance the organisation’s authority in the world.
“Kazakhstan encourages member states to agree on the memorandum of understanding between the SCO and regional international organisations on unconditional principles in the policy of combating international terrorism. The memorandum will expand the legal framework of the SCO and advocate for political principles of struggle against international terrorism,” Ashimov said.