Uzbekistan President Sees SCO Summit as Solution to “Historical Fracture”

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan, Sept. 12, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Shavkat Mirziyoyev, President of Uzbekistan, chair of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), sees the group’s summit to be held later this week as a way to repair fraying international ties in the modern world.

Writing in the international news outlet bne IntelliNews, the president said the world is at a moment of major change. It is a period of “historical fracture, when one era ends and another begins, still unpredictable and unknown,” he said.

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“The modern system of international cooperation, based on universal principles and norms, is beginning to malfunction significantly. One of the main reasons for this is a deep crisis of confidence at the global level, which, in turn, provokes geopolitical confrontation and risks reviving stereotypes of bloc thinking. This process of mutual alienation complicates the return of the world economy to its former course of development and the restoration of global supply chains.”

The summit, to be held 15-16 September in the ancient city of Samarkand, Uzbekistan, will bring together the leaders of China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Member nations have a population of 3.2 billion, or about half the world’s population. Their total area exceeds 34 million square kilometers, or more than 60 per cent of the Eurasian land mass. Based on World Bank data, the area generates 24% of global GDP.

In addition to the leaders of the eight member countries, the Samarkand summit will be attended by the leaders of Belarus, Iran and Mongolia, who have observer status. Turkey and Turkmenistan have also been invited as guests.

President Mirziyoyev said the past year had seen the organisation of 80 major SCO events focusing on mutual security cooperation, transport, economic linkages and positioning within the international community so as to seek new ways to develop. Results of these events included 36 separate programme concepts, agreements and decisions.

At the 2021 summit in Dushanbe, President Mirziyoyev recommended strengthening the SCO’s potential and authority, stepping up efforts to ensure peace and stability in the region, reducing poverty and ensuring food security. Specifically, he made the following proposals:

– A specific plan to develop intra-regional trade, which would include measures to remove trade barriers, convergence of technical regulations and digitalization of customs procedures.

– Adoption of an industrial cooperation programme, the preparation of an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in tourism and an infrastructure development program in the SCO area.

– Establishment of an expert forum on information security and introduction of the institution of SCO Goodwill Ambassador.

“Uzbekistan’s chairmanship in the SCO is a logical continuation of the active and open foreign policy course pursued by our country over the past six years. This policy is being implemented primarily in Central Asia, the geographical centre of the SCO, where positive and irreversible processes of strengthening good-neighborliness and cooperation are taking place today. All SCO member states are our closest neighbours, friends and strategic partners.”

The president made special reference to neighbouring Afghanistan, citing the SCO’s “moral obligation to lend a helping hand and to offer Afghanistan effective ways out of its long-standing crisis.” He proposed that Afghanistan become a link between Central and South Asia through the development of new transport infrastructure.

“The construction of the trans-Afghan corridor can become a symbol of such mutually beneficial interregional cooperation. Implementing common infrastructure projects, such as the Termez-Mazar-i-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar railway, we not only solve socio-economic, transport and communication problems, but we also make a significant contribution to regional security.”

President Mirziyoyev has already proposed holding regular high-level SCO-Afghanistan meetings, expressing readiness to host the first of them in Tashkent.

He also paid credit to the host city Samarkand, citing its long history, first as the capital of the medieval Timurid Empire where famous artists, scientists and writers congregated under the patronage of the emperor Tamerlane.

“Historically, Samarkand was a melting pot of ideas and knowledge, in which a common goal was developed – to live better, to be more successful and to become happier. And everyone understood that friendly neighbours are half of your wealth,” he said.

“These unique qualities of Samarkand, which today has a modern and fast-developing infrastructure, turn it into the most suitable and popular platform for joint discussion, search and coordination of the necessary answers to regional and global challenges.”

In recent days, Tashkent officials have sought to counter claims in the Russian media that the summit was called by Russia and China, and that the conflict in Ukraine was on the agenda.

“Of course, the leaders of the states can exchange views on global and regional problems,” Rakhmatulla Nurimbetov, National Coordinator of the SCO for Uzbekistan, told the domestic media. “But in the draft resolution, joint documents and, most importantly, in the Samarkand Declaration, there are no and will not be any statements and appeals on issues pursuing any geopolitical goals.

“In this organisation, every issue and agenda is formed on the basis of consensus. First of all, the national coordinators agree on each issue on the agenda of the event. It is then considered at the level of foreign ministers. The agenda of the Samarkand summit was confirmed by the foreign ministers on July 29. And there is no talk of global geopolitical crises in it,” Mr. Nurimbetov said.


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SOURCE Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan, London

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