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President Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s speech at the SCO videoconference summit

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President Shavkat Mirziyoyev's speech at the SCO videoconference summit

Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich!

Dear Heads of State!

Let me cordially greet all the participants of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit.

I am sincerely grateful to President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin for organizing our meeting.

Notwithstanding all the difficulties caused by the pandemic, the high efficiency of the Russian chairmanship in the SCO should be underscored in particular.

Indisputably, the documents prepared for consideration today will contribute to the consolidation of the role and authority of our organization in the world.

I am glad to see the respected Sadyr Nurkhojoyevich Japarov at our Summit.

As the closest neighbor and strategic partner, Uzbekistan fully supports the brotherly people of Kyrgyzstan in their strive for peaceful development and prosperity.

We also welcome the agreements on complete cease of all hostilities in the zone of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, reached with the active assistance of the Russian Federation.

We express our hope for the soonest restoration of peaceful life and stability in that region.

Dear colleagues,

Today, the SCO is at a fundamentally new stage in its development.

Entailing sharp reduction in trade and economic bonds, production decline, unemployment growth, the current pandemic has had a grave impact on the dynamics of our development.

Along with this, the military-political situation in certain regions of the world is aggravating, confrontation on interethnic and interreligious ground has been mounting.

These global challenges and threats can only be overcome by preserving and enhancing our traditions of good neighborliness, equality, trust and consideration of each other’s interests.

Never before has it been more important to bolster the Shanghai Spirit, a unique experience of multilateral cooperation, which is our shared heritage and expresses our desire for common development, respect for the diversity of cultures.

The SCO is strong only when every of us is strong.

To this end, mutual support and joint search for compromises on key issues on our agenda are crucial.

It is this very approach that is becoming the foremost prerequisite for ensuring security and sustainable development in the Eurasian space.

This meets the interests and aspirations of the peoples of our countries.

Dear Summit Participants,

Let me briefly dwell on our vision of the urgent tasks SCO should address.

First. Consolidation of economic interaction requires special attention.

We seek to revitalize trade and economic ties and industrial cooperation.

I feel convinced that its achievement in the most effective way comes through delivering on joint anti-crisis programs, including:

— elimination of barriers in mutual trade;

— simplification of customs procedures, their harmonization and digitalization;

— development of electronic commerce among our countries;

— encouragement of mutual investments.

I propose to work out new, including nonconventional, approaches to the promotion of our trade, economic and investment relations in the context of pandemic.

They should become the basis of the SCO plan for the implementation of the program of trade and economic cooperation.

It is vital to formulate concrete measures to implement the Food Security Cooperation Program.

We also stand for the adoption of a program to stimulate industrial cooperation among the business circles of our countries.

Second. The pandemic has accelerated the digitalization process. Information technologies are becoming driver of economic growth.

I propose that an SCO program be devised for the promotion of digital literacy, aiming at enlightening the population in this field, training dedicated specialists on the basis of agreed curricula.

We believe that the Statement on Cooperation in Digital Economy, being adopted today, is rather timely.

Third. In the current circumstances, it is essential that we direct joint efforts to support the needy segments of the population and reduce poverty.

To coordinate our interaction in this area, I consider it necessary to deliver a mechanism for meetings of the heads of government agencies responsible for combating poverty.

I propose to elaborate a program of cooperation among SCO member nations on this front, and hold an international forum in Uzbekistan to contemplate on coordinated measures for its realization.

I feel confident that the successful experience of the People’s Republic of China would be useful in implementing this initiative.

Fourth. It is critical to expand joint counteraction to new challenges and threats to the health of the population of our countries.

Humanity today is faced with infections previously unknown. Fighting them becomes a part of our daily life.

In this respect, we welcome the adoption at this Summit of the Comprehensive Plan of Joint Actions to Counter Threats of Epidemics.

It is vital to ensure its practical implementation, establish an effective information exchange on the spread of perilous infectious diseases.

In order to shore up effectual interaction among specialized clinics of our countries, we recommend that a network of medical institutions to combat epidemic-bound diseases be established.

The network would serve to advance mutually beneficial projects designed to swap experience in the field of diagnostics, prevention and treatment of contagious diseases, arrange for the activities of joint teams of doctors and their training.

I will take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all our partners, especially Russia and China, for the tremendous assistance and support provided to Uzbekistan to fight coronavirus.

Amid the pandemic, obvious is the growing need for the introduction of new remote technologies into healthcare.

To this end, we consider it expedient to work out a concept for cooperation in the field of telemedicine.

The idea is to provide for the training of doctors in telemedicine methods in the treatment of a wide range of diseases, as well as the exchange of best practices in this area.

Fifth. In contemporary circumstances, the threats of terrorism, extremism and drug trafficking are not only not weakening, but are intensifying, acquiring new forms.

The role of information technologies, social networks in the recruitment and radicalization of youth, and in funding the terrorists has been on the rise.

Against this background, rising is the demand for the adaptation of SCO RATS to the solution of fundamentally new tasks of ensuring security in the Organization’s space.

From this perspective, we consider it necessary to significantly increase the frequency of working contacts among relevant government departments, and think up new mechanisms of interaction.

It is important to ensure regular discussion of the current situation, coordination of joint measures to counter challenges and threats, including those in the information field.

Ultimately, our common contribution to bolstering peace and stability in the vast SCO region will depend on this effort.

In all these areas, we propose to intensify equally advantageous cooperation with observer nations, dialogue partners and international organizations.

Distinguished Heads of State,

Today, never before has it been more salient not to miss the historic chance to achieve the long-awaited peace in Afghanistan.

Security and harmony in that country should be viewed as a seminal component of stability and economic wellbeing in the entire SCO region.

Thanks to the efforts of the world community, including the SCO nations, promising prospects for a peaceful settlement of the conflict have emerged in Afghanistan.

We deem it crucial to unite efforts to support these positive signals of progress towards tranquility and provide economic assistance to the Afghan people.

I am convinced that the peaceful, sustainable development of that country will also be facilitated by the engagement of Afghanistan in regional trade and economic processes.

In this sense, we are in favor of the soonest possible elaboration and adoption of a plan of practical actions to assist the social and economic reconstruction of Afghanistan within the framework of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group.

New prospects for all SCO countries are opening up through the initiatives of transport corridors that would help restore Afghanistan to its historic role as a bridge connecting the Central and South Asia.

We offer to discuss these and other issues in April 2021 in Tashkent at the international conference “Central and South Asia: Regional Connectivity. Challenges and Opportunities”.

Along with this, I would like to propose to convene next year, on the eve of the 20th anniversary of our Organization, an international conference on the role of SCO in the system of contemporary international relations.

Esteemed Heads of Delegations,

Allow me also congratulate the President of Tajikistan Emomali Sharipovich Rahmon on assuming the chairmanship in the SCO and wish him great success in fulfilling this honorable and responsible mission.

Thank you for attention.