Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has called for collective efforts amongst SCO member countries to meet the present day challenges and to achieve sustainable development.
He was addressing two-day Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) Council of Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
The minister said that the SCO serves as an important platform for links amongst the regional countries.
He said Pakistan is determined to implement the SCO Charter.
Referring to the strategic geopolitical location of Pakistan, Qureshi said that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project will help further promote links in the region.
Condemning terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, the minister stressed the need for addressing root causes of the curse.
He said that Pakistan is amongst the few countries which has successfully countered terrorism, adding that the country is ready to share its experience and expertise with the SCO friends to deal with the scourge.
On Afghanistan, Qureshi said that it is a matter of satisfaction that the Afghan peace process has started.
He said that Pakistan will continue to facilitate the Afghan peace process, owned and led by its own people.
The minister added that conflict resolution is important for peace and stability in the South Asian region.
He cited the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor for the Sikh community as an example of Pakistan’s message of peace, adding that “we have practically reinforced the Shanghai spirit through Kartarpur corridor”.
Meanwhile, Pakistan and Russia have agreed to enhance co-operation in various fields, including trade, energy and defence sectors.
The agreement was reached at a meeting between Qureshi and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of the SCO foreign ministers’ meeting in Bishkek.
The two sides exchanged views on bilateral relations and security situation in the region, particularly the latest developments in peace process in Afghanistan.
Speaking after the meeting, Qureshi said that he discussed the promotion of economic co-operation with his Russian counterpart.
Pakistan and Russia also signed a joint statement on No First Placement of Weapons in Outer Space.
According to the statement, Pakistan and Russia share a common position on the prevention of an arms race in outer space, and work collectively in various international fora towards that goal.
It said that Pakistan and Russia reiterate their commitment to refrain from the threat or use of force in outer space activities.
They also encourage other responsible space-faring nations to follow this example.
The statement said that outer space is being used by an increasing number of states.
Pakistan has been consistently highlighting the risks of the weaponisation of outer space, which threaten the long term sustainability of peaceful space activities.
The statement stressed the need for addressing gaps in the international legal regime governing the exploration and use of outer space with a view to ensuring that no one threatens peaceful activities and the applications of space technologies for socio-economic development.
The signing of the joint statement on the No First Placement of Weapons in Outer Space is a reflection of convergence of views between Pakistan and Russia.
On an interesting note, Qureshi was seated yesterday next to his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj during SCO ministers’ meeting.
The meeting was briefly attended by Kyrgyzstan President Sooronbay Jeenbekov, who said it was an honour for the country to host the event.
However, when the ministers gathered to take a group picture, Swaraj switched her spot when she realised she was standing next to Qureshi.
Earlier in Islamabad, prior to his departure for the Central Asian state, Qureshi said that besides addressing the inaugural session of the regional forum, he would also hold sideline meetings with his counterparts from other countries.
He expressed concern over the evolving security situation with reference to Iran and said he would particularly like to meet and discuss the scenario with the foreign ministers of China and Russia – both permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.
Qureshi is expected to have a meeting with the SCO secretary general.
He will also lead the country’s delegation at the ministerial-level meeting.
Qureshi has said the friendship with China is a cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy.
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