DUSHANBE: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has called for developing greater connectivity amongst the SCO member states to unlock the geo-economic potential of the region.
Addressing meeting of the Council of SCO Foreign Ministers in Dushanbe, he said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is the flagship project of BRI, supplements SCO’s vision of regional connectivity and economic integration.
The Foreign Minister said the SCO needs to focus on collective economic development that intertwines with our national Sustainable Development Goals. Our agencies dealing with achieving Sustainable Development Goals must meet at least once a year and share experiences and best practices in a spirit of cooperation and shared progress.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi said we need to create the necessary linkages between CEOs and entrepreneurs of SCO member states to promote business partnerships.
He said empowerment of women in different walks of life is a shared objective within SCO. Contributing towards this goal, he said SCO Women Entrepreneurs Forum be established.
Turning to situation in Afghanistan, the Foreign Minister said Pakistan stands ready to working with SCO member states in reinforcing efforts for sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan. He said Pakistan has played its part in facilitating the peace process aimed at forging a comprehensive, broad based and inclusive, negotiated political solution that is Afghan-led and Afghan-owned.
He said the unfolding situation in the wake of withdrawal of US and NATO troops and in the absence of a peace deal is a matter of serious concern. The rise in violence in recent weeks has exacerbated an already volatile situation. A specter of chaos and escalated conflict looms large that would also give space to the ‘spoilers’ who wish to see the reign of instability in Afghanistan and the region. He said we call upon all Afghan parties to engage constructively and work for a negotiated political solution.
He emphasized the need for addressing root causes of terrorism and extremism.
Regarding challenges posed by COVID-19, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said called for collective efforts to combat the wide ranging effects of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Qureshi has reaffirmed Pakistan s interest to work with Central Asian Republics (CARs) on rail, road and energy projects, which would link Central Asia with Pakistan.
He was speaking at a meeting with President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon along with Foreign Ministers of SCO member states in Dushanbe on Wednesday. The Foreign Minister said China-Pakistan Economic Corridor provides an ideal opportunity in this regard.
On the regional security situation, the Foreign Minister emphasized that withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan has opened new challenges and opportunities. He expressed the hope that SCO would continue to play its due role in support of peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.
The Foreign Minister congratulated the Tajik President on successful stewardship of SCO under its Presidency, during which new areas were identified to further strengthen cooperation under SCO.