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Samarkand declaration notes SCO not intended against other organizations

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Shanghai Cooperation Organization concludes 2022 summit with Samarkand declaration noting that the organization is not intended against other organizations.

By Muhammad Arshad Makhan

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member nations have agreed that the SCO is not intended against other governments or international organizations, according to a declaration issued during the SCO summit in Samarkand.

The Samarkand SCO summit took place at a time when the world is witnessing the combined impact of a pandemic unseen in a century, a de-globalization trend and other complex factors, with the global economic governance system facing challenges.

The Shanghai Spirit, named after the Chinese city in which the group was founded and as its undergirding values and guidelines, features mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for cultural diversity, and pursuit of common development.

In the context of serious shifts both in international politics and economics, the value of
the summit in Samarkand has grown exponentially. Various key decisions and
agreements have been made in Samarkand, most of which determine the future of the organization’s development.

A simple state needs to be understood by the global community the SCO is not a bloc. It is an organization that promotes the concepts of multifaceted cooperation and does not pursue any geopolitical goals or make certain agendas against any nation.

These principles are clearly spelt out in its charter. The history of the organization proves that each member, under the banner of the SCO, must observe these strict rules.

“Member states reaffirm that the SCO is not directed against other states and international organizations and is open to broad cooperation with them in accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, the SCO Charter, and international law, based on consideration of mutual interests and commonality of approaches to solving regional and global problems,” the document read.

 

The world is coming to Samarkand has been the theme of the preparations for the annual meeting, to be hosted by the group’s current chairman, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

All SCO member states are our closest neighbors, friends and strategic partners, he said in a prepared statement ahead of the summit. Mirziyoyev, who believes that Samarkand, the medieval capital of the empire of Uzbekistan’s national hero Amir Temur, was a dramatic backdrop for the gathering of leaders from eight SCO member and three observer states alongside several dialogue partner countries.

 

Uzbekistan invited SCO members to rethink the value of multilateral cooperation during an ongoing period of great geopolitical and economic upheaval. As a result, at the Samarkand SCO summit, President Mirziyoyev is expected to present a number of breakthrough initiatives and proposals that are designed to serve as a significant revival of the SCO’s agenda and comprehensive modernization of the organization.

 

These new initiatives come at a time when interest in the future potential of the SCO is growing. What is undeniable is that the heart of the organization lies in the countries of Central Asia, as the SCO, itself, was first conceived and created to develop a new format of cooperation in this strategic region of nearly 80 million people. The SCO’s constructive contribution to stability, security and the establishment of multilateral cooperation in Central Asia is an indisputable fact.

 

Today, the organization is entering a critical transformational stage, and this process is due both to the expansion of its membership and to the changing realities within and around the organization. At the Samarkand summit, the signing of a Memorandum of Obligations by Iran is expected, which will open the country towards a direct path to membership in the SCO.  In addition, memorandums on granting dialogue partner status will be signed with Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The approval of applications for partner status is also expected with Bahrain and the Maldives.

 

SCO has stated that they are against any interference in other nations’ internal affairs under the pretense of anti-terrorism and anti-extremism measures the declaration noted. The document specifically read that member states note the inadmissibility of interference in the internal affairs of states under the pretext of countering terrorism and extremism, as well as the unacceptability of using terrorist, extremist and radical groups for personal gain.

Additionally, the declaration entailed that member states expressed deep concern over the threat to security posed by terrorism, separatism, and extremism in all its forms and manifestations, and strongly condemned terrorist acts around the world.

They stressed the importance of the consistent implementation of the Program of Cooperation of the SCO Member States in Countering Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism for 2022-2024 [signed in 2021]. SCO member countries sought to develop cooperation in the fields of security and defense based on results of the Meeting of Ministers of Defense of the SCO Member States (Tashkent, August 24-25, 2022), highlighting the significance of periodical joint military anti-terrorist drills.

For the past year, Uzbekistan has been chairing the SCO, where its activities in its role have reflected Tashkent’s new foreign policy initiatives.  Central to these are pragmatism,
dynamism and initiative, all of which have become Uzbekistan’s calling card for diplomacy
in recent years.

The country’s independent and multifaceted foreign policy has made it possible to balance the interests of the middle-sized and small countries within the SCO’s space. According to international affairs analysts, this gives Tashkent a decidedly key advantage within the organization, namely the trust of all the SCO countries, which allows it to confidently promote major regional and global initiatives through this platform.

The member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) consider the unilateral build-up of global missile defense systems as a negative trend, according to the Samarkand declaration signed.

The member states once again draw attention to the fact that the unilateral and unrestricted build-up of global missile defense systems by individual countries or groups of states has a negative impact on international security and stability. They consider unacceptable attempts to ensure their own security at the expense of the security of other states,” the declaration read.

The conceptual approach by Uzbekistan as to which path the SCO should take in this new era of global politics can be seen in the priorities that the Uzbek government has put forward – trade, industrial and technological cooperation, strengthening transport and economic interconnectedness, innovation, digital transformation and a green economy. The member states call for more effective WTO as a key forum for discussing the international trade agenda and adopting the rules of the multilateral trading system, the document reads.

Last but not least in the Samarkand declaration is noted a need to develop a single list of terrorist, separatist, and extremist organizations that can be adopted by all members of the organization.  In accordance with their national laws and on the basis of consensus, the member states will strive to develop common principles and approaches to the formation of a single list of terrorist, separatist and extremist organizations whose activities are prohibited on the territories of the SCO member states, the document reads.

 

China is willing to work with Russia to take the global order in a more just and reasonable direction, Beijing’s top diplomat said, underscoring the depth of the two nations’ ties. The SCO has also urged increased effectiveness of the WTO and called for its inclusive reform as soon as possible.  Calling it “China’s most important event of head-of-state diplomacy on the eve of the 20th  National Congress of the Communist Party of China, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said that it shows the great importance China attaches to the SCO.

 

At the 22nd meeting of the Council of, President Xi noted that the SCO has been an important constructive force in international and regional affairs. He called on the group to uphold the Shanghai Spirit, strengthen unity and cooperation, and promote the building of an even closer SCO community with a shared future.

Xi said what can be drawn upon from the group’s rich practices includes political trust, mutually beneficial cooperation, equality, openness and inclusiveness, and equity and justice, which fully embodies the Shanghai Spirit. Chinese President Xi Jinping just concluded his two-nation trip on late Friday after wrapping up attendance to the 22nd meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and state visits to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

In a packed three-day schedule, Xi intensively attended nearly 30 events, featuring multilateral and bilateral agendas, and covering security and development issues. There are many highlights and fruitful results, which have strongly pushed the SCO expansion a new step forward and brought China’s relations with relevant countries to a new level.

Global experts, scholars and officials have spoken highly of Xi’s appeal for a closer SCO community with a shared future, as well as China’s initiatives and its role in the SCO community and beyond, expecting the organization to boost stability and development across the Eurasian continent.

Under the guidance of President Xi Jinping and President Vladimir Putin, the relationship between the two countries has always been on the right track, and both sides firmly support each other on issues relating to their core interests.

The Chinese side is willing to work with the Russian side to continuously implement high-level strategic cooperation between the two countries, safeguard common interests and promote the development of the international order in a more just and reasonable direction.

China has sought to present itself as a neutral party in Russia’s war, despite Xi’s declaration of a no limits partnership with Putin weeks before the attack. While Beijing has not explicitly criticized the war, its leaders have also avoided providing sanctions relief or military supplies to Russia. Chinese exports of cars, televisions and smartphones helped Russia fill a void when foreign brands fled. In the second quarter, 81% of Russia’s new car imports were Chinese, and Xiaomi Corp. was Russia’s best-selling smartphone maker.

Russian President Vladimir Putin took the West to task over its ‘economic egoism’ and illegal sanctions, while pointing out systemic mistakes made by leading global economies. “Our integration is of a non-bloc nature, and we offer assistance in solving energy and food problems that emerge in the world, arising from a number of systemic mistakes in leading global economies in the area of finance and energy, he said at an expanded meeting of the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) summit.

Hopefully, other participants in economic cooperation will build their policy on the same principles as well, and stop using the tools of protectionism, illegal sanctions and economic egoism opportunistically,” the Russian president added.

Putin called the European Commission’s decision to lift sanctions from Russian fertilizers as a vivid example of such a policy. We know how important fertilizers are for resolving the food problem, he stated.

We surely welcome the decision to remove these sanctions itself, though it turns out those sanctions as explained by the European Commission on September 10 of this year have only been removed for EU member states. It turns out only they can buy our fertilizers! What about emerging economies and the world’s poorest countries? Putin pointed out.

 

The Russian president turned to the UN Secretariat through Under Secretary General Rosemary Di Carlo who was present at the meeting, asking to influence the European Commission’s decision and not in word but in deed to demand those discriminatory restrictions against developing states be lifted. He added that he had discussed the issue with UN chief Antonio Guterres as well.

Putin also put the spotlight on giving emerging markets access to Russian fertilizers, announcing his readiness to give 300,000 tonnes of Russian fertilizers to developing states free of charge. Two days ago, I informed Guterres that 300,000 tonnes of Russian fertilizers had piled up in EU seaports. We are ready to give them to developing countries free of charge, he noted.

The Xi-Putin meeting added flurry of diplomatic activity between Beijing and Moscow in recent weeks. In recent years, China has shelled out tens of billions in emergency loans for at-risk nations, indicating a shift to providing short-term emergency lending rather than longer-term infrastructure loans.

It’s a (largely) unforeseen development from Beijing’s $900 billion Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), launched in 2013. Since 2017, Beijing has given a collective $32.8 billion in emergency loans to Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Argentina, according to AidData, a research lab at William & Mary University that focuses on China’s global financing activities.

China has also offered emergency loans to Eastern European nations Ukraine and Belarus; South American countries Venezuela and Ecuador; African nations Kenya and Angola; alongside Laos, Egypt, and Mongolia. Chinese’ overseas lending and credit relationships remain exceptionally opaque.

Chinese lenders require strict confidentiality from their debtors and do not release a granular breakdown of their lending, but researchers have found that the bulk of China’s overseas lending — around 60% — is now to low-income countries that are currently mired in debt distress, or at high risk of it.

Beijing’s pivot to short-term rescue lending highlights its growing role as an emergency lender of last resort, rendering it an alternative to the Western-backed International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The SCO declaration highlights the significance of playing a role in advocating for and supporting the formation of an inclusive, independent, neutral, united, democratic, and peaceful state in Afghanistan with the hopes that it will be free from terrorism, war, and drugs.

The declaration read that with the participation of representatives of all ethnic, religious and political groups of Afghan society, SCO member states find it extremely important to establish an inclusive government in Afghanistan.

Despite Afghanistan being high on the agenda of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s (SCO) meeting of the Council of Heads of State, the Taliban leadership in Kabul was not invited to the conference owing to opposition from certain member countries.

Under the chairmanship of Uzbekistan in the past one year, the China-led SCO has had several deliberations on how to deal with the Taliban, which took control of Afghanistan in August, 2021.

However, when the main summit happened with Uzbekistan as the host, it was decided that none of the Taliban representatives would be invited. The matter of whether or not to invite the Taliban was under discussion for several months in the run-up to the SCO Summit, which begins Thursday in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. While some countries wanted the Taliban to be invited to the crucial SCO Summit this year, others refused to budge.

NEWS DESK
NEWS DESKhttp://thinktank.pk
News Desk, where most of the News Item edit for THE THINK TANK JOURNAL editor@thinktank.pk

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