Astana Hosts SCO Foreign Ministers Council Meeting

ASTANA – Twenty-two resolutions regarding multilateral cooperation in the political, diplomatic, trade, economic, cultural, and humanitarian sectors were signed at the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states on May 21 in Astana. The meeting was chaired by Murat Nurtleu, Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister.

The meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states .Photo credit: The Astana Times

Attendees included Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Secretary of the Minister of External Affairs of India Dammu Ravi, Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Diplomacy of Iran Mahdi Safari, Foreign Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic Jeenbek Kulubaev, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Pakistan Muhammad Ishaq Dar, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan Sirojiddin Mukhriddin, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan Bakhtiyor Saidov, SCO Secretary General Zhang Ming, and Director of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) Executive Committee Ruslan Mirzayev attended the meeting. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus, Sergei Aleinik, also took part in the meeting.

Nurtleu welcomed the meeting participants and asked for a moment of silence to honor Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, and other diplomats who died in the helicopter crash on May 19.

Enhancing cooperation within the SCO 

During the meeting, the heads of delegations exchanged views on the international and regional situation, security, and the development of cooperation within the SCO in the political, trade, economic, cultural, and humanitarian spheres.

Photo credit: The Astana Times

The participants noted the organization’s effective activities aimed at ensuring regional security and stability, as well as the prosperity and well-being of its peoples. They emphasized that in today’s challenging geopolitical environment, the SCO’s authority and influence in world affairs are growing stronger.

SCO Secretary-General Zhang Ming highlighted in his speech that the organization’s modernization process is enabling it to not only maintain its operations at a steady pace but also to enhance its activities in certain areas. In the face of the “three forces of evil,” he expressed confidence that the organization will continue to contribute to preserving international security and will provide member nations with all the support they need. He also spoke about the activities of the SCO Secretariat in political, diplomatic, trade, economic, cultural, humanitarian, and administrative-legal areas.

Kazakhstan as the SCO Chair 

Comprehensive preparation and agenda for the Astana SCO Summit, scheduled for July 3–4, were among the primary topics covered at the meeting. The sides approved a list of topics and documents submitted for consideration for the Heads of SCO member states, including the SCO Initiative on World Unity for Just Peace and Harmony, and the draft roadmap for the development of interaction with the SCO dialogue partners.

“Kazakhstan’s chairmanship in the organization has been very meaningful and interesting. I am confident that with the support of the SCO state members, the Astana summit will be successful and will provide new impetus to the organization, becoming another important milestone in its development. For our part, we are ready to provide maximum assistance in its preparation and conduct,” Zhang said.

The sides agreed to enhance cooperation in ensuring regional security and combating terrorism, extremism, separatism, drug trafficking, cybercrime, and other areas. A special focus was placed on the organization’s growth, namely the conclusion of Belarus’s admission process to the SCO.

Kazakhstan is chairing the SCO from July 2023 to July this year. During its chairmanship, Kazakhstan has arranged more than 180 events in various fields. In light of the SCO Year of Ecology, the nation has particularly focused on environmental issues, as well as economic, investment, transportation, and humanitarian operations throughout its term.

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