Speech at the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council of Heads of State in expanded format
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President of Kyrgyzstan, colleagues,
I certainly agree with the positive assessments of the activities of our organisation, the SCO, which have just been voiced here. The SCO is indeed successfully developing and strengthening its positions in regional affairs, making a significant contribution to ensuring peace, security and stability in Eurasia.
Given that at the end of today’s meeting, Russia will take over the Presidency of the SCO, I would like to outline Russia’s vision of the most promising areas of the organisation’s work in 2019–2020.
We believe that the fight against terrorism and extremism remains among our top priorities. We consider it important to increase cooperation within the SCO’s Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure, to cut off the financial support of terrorism through drug trafficking, and to make every effort to prevent terrorists laying their hands on chemical, biological or other weapons of mass destruction.
Russia also advocates close cooperation with the SCO member states in curbing the propaganda of terrorist and extremist ideas on the internet and the use of information and communication technologies for criminal purposes. The Concept of Cooperation of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Member States in Digitalisation and Information and Communication Technology, which we are approving today, is aimed at strengthening cooperation in this area.
Over the period of Russia’s Presidency, the SCO will certainly face a great deal of work to settle crises and peacefully resolve conflicts seated near the external borders of our states.
The developments in Afghanistan require special attention; my colleagues have already spoken about this here. The Afghan people need help in achieving national reconciliation and economic recovery.
We fully support the plan to expand the organisation’s security, economic and humanitarian cooperation with Afghanistan, as reflected in the relevant roadmap to be signed today. We aim to contribute in every way to the revival of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group’s activity.
Real results in the fight against international terrorism have been achieved in Syria. The militants have been defeated there largely due to Russia’s comprehensive assistance to the legitimate Syrian government. Damascus has regained control over most of the country’s territory. The political reconciliation process is progressing, and work is underway to set up the Constitutional Committee.
Our immediate task now is to ensure the complete elimination of hotbeds of terrorism that remain in Syria, primarily in Idlib, and at the same time to increase the volume of humanitarian aid and assistance to the economic reconstruction of Syria provided by the international community.
The Iranian nuclear programme still raises concerns. The US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – as a reminder, it was unanimously approved by the UN Security Council in 2015 – is not only destabilising the region, but also can undermine the nuclear non-proliferation regime.
To be continued.