DUSHANBE, Tajikistan: The Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi led the Pakistan delegation to the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers Meeting (SCO-CFM) held in Tajikistan’s Capital Dushanbe on July 13-14, 2021.
Under the Chairmanship of the Foreign Minister of Tajikistan Sirojiddin Muhriddin the Foreign Ministers of SCO Member States took a comprehensive view of the development of SCO in its twentieth anniversary year.
They deliberated upon important regional and international issues and exchanged views on strengthening cooperation between SCO member states across diverse areas including security, trade and economy, energy, industry, food security, culture, health, environment, transport links, and connectivity, etc.
The Dushanbe SCO-CFM endorsed several important documents that will be submitted to SCO Heads of States at their annual summit meeting in September 2021.
Marking the 20th anniversary of the founding of SCO, in his statement, the Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi commended the work carried out in the last two decades that had made SCO a globally recognized and influential multilateral platform.
Qureshi highlighted the formidable collective political and economic potential of SCO and emphasized that the key to unlock the geo-economic potential of this region lies in developing greater connectivity and transport links through air, road, and sea between its member states.
While emphasizing the importance of joint efforts for the maintenance of international peace and security, the foreign minister underscored concern at the indiscriminate use of force in complete disregard to international humanitarian laws; and a unilateral approach to solve longstanding international disputes.
The foreign minister also called for greater people-to-people contacts in order to strengthen ties between member states for the achievement of a shared vision of a peaceful, prosperous, and interconnected SCO region.
Towards this end, he proposed the creation of mechanisms that would bring together businessmen, entrepreneurs, and parliamentarians to connect; exchange experiences, and forge lasting and mutually beneficial partnerships.
On the sidelines of the SCO-CFM, the Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi held bilateral meetings with his counterparts from SCO Countries including Tajikistan, China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Afghanistan.
The foreign minister also represented Pakistan in the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group meeting which deliberated upon the unfolding situation in Afghanistan and its potential impact on regional peace and security.
Following the Contact Group meeting, a Joint Statement was adopted which sets out the shared view of the SCO on stability and security of Afghanistan and the commitment of the SCO Member States to assist Afghanistan in its socio-economic recovery and re-construction.
The Joint Statement ‘commended’ the long-standing hospitality given to Afghan refugees by neighboring and regional countries and called for efforts by the international community for their “dignified, safe and sustainable return to their homeland”.
Since becoming a member in 2017, Pakistan has made an effective contribution and cooperated constructively towards achieving the SCO’s multi-sectoral agenda through various SCO mechanisms.
The SCO remains an important forum for further enhancement of our deep-rooted historical and cultural links with member states, providing these ties a sound economic foundation, and promoting Pakistan as a regional trade and transit corridor.