Joint Press Release on the outcomes of the SCO framework Foreign Ministries’ consultations on regional security issues

On 22 January 2014 consultations of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Мember States, Observer States to the SCO and other interested parties on regional security issues were held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. Representatives of Foreign Ministries of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Republic of India, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mongolia, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Republic of Turkey took part in the consultations. Delegations of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Secretariat of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Counter-Terrorism Center participated as well. The SCO Secretary-General and the Director of the Executive Committee of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) also attended.
Participants exchanged views on issues of regional security with the focus on fighting international terrorism and religious extremism, illicit drug trafficking, organized crime, cybercrime and other challenges and threats that have acquired trans-boundary character. The parties emphasized the importance of combating terrorism and illicit opium economy in Afghanistan as a pre-condition for achieving durable security and prosperity in the region. They stated that solution of those problems requires increased attention and collective efforts of the entire international community.
An important factor of regional security is the situation in Afghanistan especially in the context of the forthcoming withdrawal of the International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) in 2014. The participants reaffirmed their support for a stable, secure, prosperous and united Afghanistan.
Participants emphasized the importance of maintaining international assistance to the Afghan National Security Forces in the form of capacity building and financial aid in order to help prevent the deterioration of the security situation following the completion of the ISAF mission.
The parties stressed the importance of the UN central coordinating role and wide regional cooperation in efforts to achieve sustainable peace and security in Afghanistan and to assist its reconstruction and development processes. Participants of the consultations underlined that the national reconciliation must be implemented under Afghan control and by the Afghan people in order to facilitate the early achievement of peace and stability in this country. Participants also appreciated Afghanistan’s efforts in promoting regional cooperation through the Heart of Asia process as a regional initiative to complement the SCO efforts.
Based on the Joint Declaration on Cooperation between Secretariats of the UN and the SCO of 5 April 2010, as well as the UN GA resolution "Cooperation between UN and SCO" of 14 February 2013, the SCO aims at a more complete implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding between the SCO Secretariat and the UNODC and the Protocol on Cooperation between the UNODC and the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure, as well as intends to set cooperation with other UN structures.
Most of the participants spoke in favour of enhanced cooperation between the SCO and interested states, international and regional organizations in ensuring security and stability, deepening mutually beneficial trade and economic, cultural and humanitarian contacts in the region. Speakers noted that taking into account principles of non-direction against other states and international organizations, the SCO is a convenient platform for a wide dialogue and coordination of positions on the entire range of regional security issues.
Consultations were held in a constructive atmosphere and confirmed the proximity of views of the parties on the matters discussed.