His Excellency Mr. Sergey Lavrov,
Excellencies Foreign Ministers of member states of SCO, CSTO and the CIS
Ladies and gentlemen,
At the outset, I would like to extend my gratitude to the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation for organizing this Ministerial debate. The cooperation between these regional organizations and the United Nations is critical for combating the emerging security threats, especially terrorism.
Let me congratulate the SCO member states and the United Nations on adoption of the UNGA Resolution on “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization” on 30 August 2019. Pakistan was one of the sponsors of the Resolution.
The Resolution builds on the strong foundation laid down by five (5) previous such Resolutions since 2009 in strengthening dialogue, cooperation and coordination between the UN and the SCO.
We support and welcome SCO’s burgeoning cooperation with various UN Specialized agencies, organizations, programs and funds with a view to achieving common goals.
SCO also affords us an important channel to underscore our interest in regional peace, stability and development and our support for regional cooperation against terrorism and extremism.
Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including against people under illegal occupation. Pakistan has proactively and successfully taken action to uproot the scourge of terrorism and will continue its efforts in the same spirit, in coordination with the regional and international partners. However, we also believe that there is need to focus on certain elements and factors, indicated in the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy as the first among the four pillars: Addressing the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism.
This is more pertinent to South Asia which continues to be challenged by common enemies: poverty, illiteracy, disease, and underdevelopment. Political differences and unresolved disputes further compound this predicament. Enduring peace and prosperity in South Asia will remain elusive until the main dynamic in South Asia is shifted from confrontation to cooperation. It’s important to seize the opportunities for peaceful resolution of outstanding disputes and collective endeavors for regional prosperity.
Terrorism and organized crime continue to pose serious threats to our countries. Despite the successes achieved against Daesh in Iraq and Syria, the group continues to manifest and evolve its outreach and tactics.
In our region too, Daesh has emerged as a major security threat. This can be a major destabilizing factor for all regional countries. The group continues to be strengthened by returning Foreign Terrorist Fighters.
Countering these threats require greater international cooperation including between the regional organizations and the United Nations. In this regard we welcome the recent signing of the MoU between SCO-Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (SCO-RATS) and UN Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate. This MoU would provide an important platform to enhance the strategic cooperation between these two bodies in the fight against terrorism. SCO-RATS has also signed MoUs for cooperation with the CIS and the CSTO. It would be important to use these cooperation mechanisms for developing the strategies and addressing the capacity needs of the member states in the fight against terrorism and organized crime.
In this regard Pakistan would like to propose the following:
First, several member states of SCO, CIS and CSTO have extensive experience of fighting terrorism. The Secretariats of the three organizations should develop synergies, whereby these countries can contribute to the capacity building needs of others. Pakistan stands ready to contribute to such activities.
Second, the movement of FTFs from Iraq and Syria to other parts of the world is a major challenge. The UN and the three organizations must come up with innovative means for countering this threat including through mechanisms for sharing of information about the movement of such persons.
Third, as highlighted above, Daesh in particular relies on the use of modern communication technologies for spreading its ideology. The UN and the three regional organizations must develop strategies for countering such activities.
Fourth, the MoU between SCO-RATS and UN-CTED must be operationalized at the earliest and activities should be planned for assisting SCO members in accordance with the scope of the MoU.
In conclusion, Pakistan firmly believes that the goals and ideals espoused by SCO are completely in sync with the principles and purposes of the United Nations. Our membership of both these organizations is an acknowledgment of the common principles, ideals, aspirations and goals for which the United Nations and SCO stand. We will continue to follow these guiding principles.
I thank you.