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Meeting in the SCO Plus format

July 4, 2024, Astana

A meeting in the SCO Plus format was held in Astana.

Taking part in the meeting were the leaders of SCO member states, the heads of delegations from SCO observer countries and dialogue partners, the heads of international organisations (the UN, the EEC, the Islamic Organisation for Food Security, the CSTO, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, CICA, and the CIS), as well as the guests of Kazakhstan’s Presidency.

The Russian delegation attending the meeting includes Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Overchuk, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office and Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov, and Presidential Aide Yury Ushakov.

The theme of the SCO Plus meeting is Strengthening Multilateral Dialogue – Striving for Sustainable Peace and Development. The agenda includes international and regional issues related to the SCO’s cooperation with invited countries.

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Vladimir Putin speaks at an SCO Plus format meeting

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Tokayev, colleagues.

Once again, I would like to extend greetings to everyone, especially to the guests participating in the meeting under the SCO Plus format.

I believe the growing interest in the work of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation stems from our core values and ideals: a commitment to pursuing a sovereign and independent policy, alongside a collaborative approach with other countries to find collective solutions to global problems. These principles resonate with many around the world.

Our association has always emphasised the importance of considering the opinions and perspectives of a broad range of partners, respecting each state’s inalienable right to choose its own development model.

It is evident that the SCO is now one of the biggest and most influential regional organisations. As our chairman mentioned, its member countries are home to nearly half of the world’s population, produce about a quarter of the global GDP, and possess substantial intellectual and technological potential, as well as a significant portion of the world’s natural resources.

The active participation of the SCO in multilateral cooperation across various fields is particularly crucial in the current challenging international landscape, where fundamental political and economic transformations are taking place.

The world is becoming genuinely multipolar, with an increasing number of states ready to decisively assert their legitimate rights and interests. New centres of power are emerging, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is solidifying its position as one of these key centres.

Therefore, the topic we have brought up for discussion is highly relevant: Strengthening Multilateral Dialogue – Striving Towards a Sustainable Peace and Prosperity.

This theme encapsulates the core mission of the SCO since its inception in 2001 – fostering an atmosphere of security and trust throughout our shared Eurasian region.

In this context, we appreciate the sincere and concrete proposals from SCO member countries for the peaceful resolution of the Ukrainian crisis, a result of the reckless and intrusive policies of the United States and its satellites.

As you know, Russia has never refused to negotiate, and is now ready to continue peace talks. It is Ukraine that withdrew from the talks, and it also did so publicly, on direct orders from London – which means Washington was also involved, there is no doubt about it – as Ukrainian officials have admitted bluntly and openly.

The Istanbul agreements – we have to give credit to the President of Türkiye, Mr Erdogan, for agreeing to be part of that process as a mediator – are still on the table. They were initialed by Ukraine’s chief negotiator, which means that, to all appearances, Ukraine found them acceptable. These agreements, the Istanbul agreements, remain on the table and can be used as a starting point for further negotiation.

The SCO member states coordinate their actions on the international track, including at the United Nations, and their foreign policy approaches are largely in accord or closely aligned.

The SCO member states are vigorously promoting trade, economic, investment and financial cooperation, with their respective business communities involved in the process. It is telling that, while a number of developed economies are struggling with recession, the aggregate GDP of the SCO members demonstrated a 5.2 percent average growth in 2023; their industrial production grew by 4.5 percent, with inflation at just 2.4 percent. These are good results.

The member states are consistently deepening cooperation in energy, infrastructure development, food security, high technology and innovation, digital transformation and artificial intelligence.

The SCO is taking active steps to build and streamline chains of trade, logistics and mutual payments. New and more efficient transport corridors are being created to improve connectivity across the continent, from north to south and from west to east.

Furthermore, we are certainly interested in the widest possible scope of countries joining SCO industry projects. The SCO Business Council, the Interbank Consortium and the Heads of Regions Forum are also open to partnerships.

The members of the Shanghai organisation are always respectful of historical and cultural values, and civilisational diversity. This provides a sound framework for people-to-people contacts to expand, and facilitates cooperation in science and technology, education, health care and sports. The SCO Youth Council, civil society and volunteer bodies are up and running.

In other words, SCO has many good practices to share with all countries that are interested and want to cooperate. Reciprocally, our organisation will welcome any constructive contribution to its activities and any valuable proposal from our partners.

Therefore, I am confident that this meeting will benefit all parties and will serve to build an even stronger bond of friendly relations between them and spur on cooperation across the board.

Thank you for your attention.

July 4, 2024, Astana