UFA (Russia): Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Friday called for a strong regional collective response to confront the challenges of extremism, terrorism and drug-trafficking.
Addressing the 15th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit, the Prime Minister said the region faces a volatile geopolitical environment and Pakistan’s objectives of curbing extremism and enhancing border security were in line with those of the SCO.
He said the SCO provides a useful forum to Pakistan in promoting peace and stability in South Asia, Afghanistan and Central Asia.”Cordial and mutually beneficial economic relations with SCO member-states will be our foreign policy priority,” the Prime Minister said.
“We believe that regional stability is the key to economic progress of nations,” he said and added peace in Afghanistan and Central Asia was crucial to regional connectivity and trade cooperation.
He said SCO has major strengths of its own. The basic principles of its charter were sovereign equality of states, territorial integrity and mutual cooperation and security. “The spirit of SCO abhors hegemony and coercion in international affairs. It has a consensus based decision-making process, which instils confidence in its members.”
The Prime Minister said the SCO partners have an ambitious agenda to achieve and called for ensuring regional stability and further economic integration to realise these goals. “We must work together to mitigate differences, resolve outstanding disputes and create a favourable environment for the betterment of our peoples.”
“This is how the true Shanghai Spirit would be fully realised,” he said.
The Prime Minister termed India and Pakistan’s inclusion into the ambit of the grouping as a “turning point in the history of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation”. “I am honoured to represent my country at this prestigious forum and am confident that SCO’s expansion would prove a watershed in the changing geopolitical landscape of the Eurasian belt,” the Prime Minister said.
He said Pakistan attaches great importance to its full membership of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and said Pakistan shares with SCO and its member-states, deep-rooted historical and cultural links and strong economic and strategic complementarities. “Our interests and objectives intersect across a wide range of areas and issues,” he said.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan also offers critical overland and maritime routes for trade and energy connectivity within the SCO region and beyond. It provides a natural link for the SCO member-states to connect the Eurasian heartland with the Arabian Sea, he said.
The Prime Minister said as an important member of SCO, Russia stands at the crossroads of Asia and Europe. He said President Putin’s recent initiative to integrate the Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) with the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) will enhance the scope of economic outreach of SCO member-states.
Prime Minister Sharif said in the economic field, President Xi Jinping’s “One Belt-One Road” initiative was a pioneering effort and said the blueprint of grand regional connectivity entails massive infrastructure and energy resource development, with unparalleled economic dividends for future societies.
The Prime Minister also expressed gratitude to President Putin for the warm hospitality extended to him and his delegation. He also extended appreciation for Dmitry Mezentsev,
Secretary-General SCO for his efforts to strengthen the Organisation. NNI