17th SCO Summit in Astana voices need of counterterrorism

Pakistan attending 16th meeting of Council of Heads of Government of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member states
Pakistan attending 16th meeting of Council of Heads of Government of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member states

17th SCO Summit in Astana voices need of counterterrorism

Astana, Kazakhstan: 17th Summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) kicks off here in Astana which will be recalled in history as “SCO Astana Summit”, reports Sultana Akhmandev for Dispatch News Desk (DND) News Agency.

Pakistan and India will go through official procedures to become two new full members during the 17th Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO on June 9, 2017. The arrival of Pakistan and India will expand SCO cover space about 23% of the globe and 45% of world population will part of SCO having 25% of total world GDP.

Expansion of SCO will help to form a Greater Asia which would surely an expansion of “Eurasian Region” with combination of potentials of Eurasian Economic Union, SCO, the One Belt, One Road and its flagship project China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). However, a stable Greater Asia requires peace in war ridden Afghanistan. The issue of Afghan Peace initiative came under discussion during the meeting of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday in Astana. China and Afghanistan signed a contract for railway networking and President Xi indicated that China would continue to support peace and reconstruction process and play a more important role in promoting policy coordination, connectivity, and trade in Afghanistan. Sources indicate that Afghan President Ghani requested China for economic, transit and security cooperation.

An important Pre-Summit meeting of defense ministers of SCO member states was held on Wednesday. This meeting was not attended by Pakistan and India because both countries will become full member from June 9, 2017.

The joint communique issued after the meeting indicates that SCO countries are concern about Middle East situation and expanding reach of Islamic State (IS) that is also known as Daesh.

The communiqué states:

“The heads of defense departments noted the effective efforts of the Russian Aerospace Forces in the fight against the terrorist groups Islamic State (IS also known as Daesh) and” Jebhat an Nusra. Positive measures are achieved by Russia to ensure complete ceasefire in Syria.

The participants of the meeting also lauded the role of Kazakhstan in helping to bring the Syrian crisis to the path of political settlement – Astana provided a platform for holding meetings on Syria in addition to the talks in Geneva under the auspices of the United Nations.

According to available agenda of 17th SCO Summit,  combat terrorism and suppression of financing for terrorism is the most important agenda point for SCO states as China, Pakistan, Iran and entire Central Asia are disturbed by expansion of Daesh that targeted Iranian Parliament just a day before SCO Summit started today.

Other agenda points include implementation of the Development strategy of SCO till 2025, strengthening regional security, fighting terrorism and extremism, combating drug trafficking and developing cooperation within the expanded organisation. The experience of anti-terrorist activities in Russia, China, Uzbekistan and Pakistan has shown that the most effective tactic to counteract terrorism is the destruction of its financial infrastructure. SCO countries will discuss terrorism issue at length.

Russia media indicates that President Vladimir Putin will carry the theme of fight against terrorism and the situation in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

Traditionally, the SCO summit will begin on Friday with a narrow-level meeting of heads of states, which will discuss the agenda documents. Heads of member states would discuss the state and priorities for further improving practical cooperation and discuss regional and international problems. Agenda would be approved and signed by heads of member states at the end of this narrow-level meeting.

At the end of Astana Summit, the chairmanship of the SCO will be transferred from Kazakhstan to China to hold Summit in summer of 2018.

According to the results of the summit, 11 documents will be signed. In particular, the leaders will adopt a statement on joint struggle against international terrorism. Another important document of the summit will be the Astana Declaration.

Astana Declaration will reflect the consolidated approaches of the member states to the further development of the SCO, the agreed assessments on key international problems, importance of creating a more equitable, polycentric model of the world order that meets the interests of all states, Rights, the principles of mutual respect and consideration of each other’s interests, mutually beneficial cooperation, renunciation of confrontation and conflicts and equal security for all member states.

Leaders at the end of the summit plan to approve the SCO Convention on Countering Extremism.