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Official website of the President of Russia

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SCO Heads of State Council Meeting

July 4, 2024, Astana

Vladimir Putin took part in a meeting of the SCO Heads of State Council in Astana.

President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev chaired the meeting. Other participants include heads of SCO member state delegations and heads of SCO permanent governance bodies.

At the beginning of the meeting, the leaders signed a resolution on granting Belarus the status of an SCO member state.

Following the meeting, the parties signed the Astana Declaration of the Council of Heads of State of the  Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

The heads of state also signed a package of other documents. They include the Council’s decisions approving the draft Development Strategy of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation until 2035, the SCO Initiative on World Unity for Just Peace and Harmony, the Programme of Cooperation of the SCO Member States in Countering Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism for 2025−2027, the SCO Anti-Drug Strategy for 2024−2029 and the Strategy for the Development of Energy Cooperation of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Member States until 2030.

In addition, the parties signed decisions on the Association of Investors of the SCO member states, on the approval of the Programme for the development of cooperation between the SCO member states in the field of protected natural areas and eco-tourism, and on declaring the city of Qingdao (China) the SCO tourist and cultural capital in 2024−2025. Furthermore, decisions were taken on signing the Memorandum of Understanding between the SCO Secretariat and the Central Asian Regional Information Coordination Center for Combating Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and their Precursors and on the Plan of Cooperation between the SCO Member States on Ensuring International Information Security.

Declarations of the SCO Heads of State Council on the principles of good neighbourliness, trust and partnership, on safe drinking water and sanitation and on effective waste management were adopted without signing.

An Agreement between the Governments of the SCO Member States on Cooperation in Environmental Protection was also signed during the meeting.

* * *

The Russian President’s address at the SCO summit

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Tokayev, colleagues.

First of all, I want to greet everybody and, of course, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, following the accession of the Republic of Belarus as a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

Russia gives high priority to partnership within the SCO. We can state with satisfaction that this cooperation continues to develop consistently based on the principles of equality, consideration for each other’s interests, respect for the cultural and civilisational diversity, and cooperation in addressing important security issues.

With the active involvement of our Kazakhstani colleagues, an impressive package of documents and resolutions has been developed for approval at this SCO Heads of State Council Meeting. The implementation of these documents will undoubtedly strengthen the role and influence of the SCO.

The coordinated approaches of the SCO countries to key aspects of the global and regional agenda are outlined in the Astana Declaration, which has been submitted for approval at the summit. Additionally, it emphasises the commitment of all SCO countries to shaping a fair multipolar world order based on the central role of the UN, international law and the striving of sovereign states for mutually beneficial partnerships.

The long-term guidelines for the further deepening of interaction not only in politics and security but also in the economy, energy, agriculture, high technology and innovations have been incorporated in the draft decision on formulating an SCO Development Strategy until 2035. This is important for enhancing our practical cooperation in all spheres on the agenda of our organisation.

Close economic ties clearly benefit all participants. The facts speak for themselves: the average GDP growth in the SCO member states was more than 5 percent last year, and industrial growth was 4.5 percent, while the inflation rate was only 2.4 percent. At the same time, Russia’s trade with SCO countries increased by 25 percent.

I would like to note in this context that our countries are increasingly using national currencies for mutual settlements. For example, the share of national currencies in Russia's transactions with SCO members has exceeded 92 percent in the first four months of this year. I would like to reiterate Russia's proposal to establish a payment and settlement system within the SCO.

Regular meetings between our economic ministers, finance ministers and central bank governors are making a substantial contribution to the development of trade and investment relations in the SCO space.

I would like to mention the successful operation of the SCO Business Council, which allows the business communities of our countries to participate in mutually beneficial joint projects. The funding of these projects is the direct responsibility of the SCO Interbank Consortium.

Naturally, ensuring security within the member states and along the external borders has always been a key focus of the SCO’s activities. Today, we have made decisions to upgrade the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure into a comprehensive centre that will address all security threats, as well as to establish an anti-drug centre in Dushanbe. The three-year cooperation programme we have approved will further strengthen our efforts to combat terrorism, separatism, and extremism.

It is gratifying to see the SCO countries consistently enhancing their interaction in cultural and humanitarian areas. Contacts are developing in science and education, environmental protection, healthcare, and combatting epidemics. Additionally, tourism, sports, and youth exchanges are on the rise.

The SCO University is thriving, bringing together 77 universities from our member states. Regular forums for university rectors, along with education weeks, are fostering connections among students, teachers, businesses, and the public sector.

The SCO Youth Council, established at the initiative of Russia, serves as a central hub for expanding youth connections.

Last spring, member nations participated in the World Youth Festival in Sochi and a youth conference focused on intercultural dialogue. We eagerly anticipate the attendance of delegates from all member states at the upcoming international youth programme, SCO Business Incubator, in September in Dubna, Moscow Region.

Colleagues, given the current global conditions marked by rapid and irreversible changes, the proactive stance of the SCO in international affairs is unquestionably highly sought after.

The multipolar world has become a reality. More and more countries are speaking out for a fair world order and are ready to resolutely uphold their legitimate rights and protect traditional values. New centres of power and economic growth are emerging and growing stronger.

We firmly believe that the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and  BRICS are the main pillars of this new world order. These associations are powerful drivers of global development processes and the establishment of genuine multipolarity.

Another step in this direction is the initiative of the SCO member states on World Unity for a Just Peace and Harmony, the presentation of which we are expected to approve today. This initiative is clearly aimed at coordinating confidence-building measures in the fields of stability and security, primarily in our common Eurasian region. These measures must guarantee equal conditions for sustainable growth for all countries, regardless of their political and economic systems, religion and confession, and cultural patterns.

Furthermore, it is also in this spirit that Russia proposed the idea of creating a new Eurasian architecture of cooperation, indivisible security and development. This new framework should replace the obsolete Europe-centric and Euro-Atlantic models that granted unilateral advantages to certain states. As you know, this world order led to a growing number of crises around the globe, including the Ukraine crisis, of course.

Russia has always advocated and will continue to advocate for a peaceful political and diplomatic settlement of the Ukraine crisis, which arose as a result of an absolutely arrogant policy of the United States and its client states. We have put forth many concrete proposals regarding this situation. I would like to remind you that in mid-June we presented yet another settlement option, which – if accepted by Ukraine and, more importantly, its Western sponsors – would allow for the hostilities to be stopped immediately, saving lives, and for negotiations to begin.

Colleagues, we are grateful to the SCO countries for their ideas on settling that conflict. Russia is certainly ready to take your ideas and initiatives into account.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation has taken the right course by closely addressing the issue of Afghanistan on its recurring agenda. We support the idea of resuming the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group and believe that the group’s activities will contribute to normalising the situation in the country.

Unfortunately, there are other potential trouble spots persisting on the Eurasian continent, in Greater Eurasia. Their proliferation is fraught with chaos and instability.

In particular, I am referring to the Middle East and the situation in Gaza. History has clearly shown that it is unviable and counterproductive to make any unilateral attempts to resolve this Palestinian deadlock, most notably by the United States, contrary to UN resolutions that specifically state the need to establish two independent and sovereign states, Israel and Palestine, which would co-exist peacefully.

Overall, the issues pertaining to security and stability across Eurasia and on a broader global scale, require active involvement and a proactive and carefully measured policy from the SCO and its member states, with due consideration for the needs and expectations of our allies among the countries of the global majority.

Colleagues, as it was stressed earlier, the more the SCO strengthens its authority and influence, the more attention it attracts from other states and international structures. Many of them strive to build an equal dialogue with our organisation and join its activities. Naturally, we must carefully consider the wealth of applications from the countries that wish to cooperate with the SCO in different capacities.

In conclusion, I want to thank our Kazakhstani friends for organising this meeting and, of course, I want to wish good luck to the President of China, our friend Xi Jinping and all of our friends in China as they take over the SCO presidency after this summit.

Thank you.

July 4, 2024, Astana