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Mamnoon signs Customs-related, other MoUs with China

Mamnoon signs Customs-related, other MoUs with China

KARACHI: President Mamnoon Hussain reaffirmed Pakistan’s desire to act as a conduit between Eurasia, China, Central and South Asia and offered Pakistan-SCO Trade, Transit and Energy Corridor, through its territory.

He expressed these views, addressing the 18th meeting of the Council of the Heads of State of SCO Member States at Qingdao China where he visited from 9-10 June, 2018, on an invitation from Chinese President Xi Jinping.

President Mamnoon highlighted importance of intra-SCO connectivity and economic integration. He reiterated Pakistan’s offer to connect CPEC to the six main road corridors of SCO. He said Pakistan had been actively supporting SCO’s Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (SCO-RATS). Sharing SCO’s concern over drug trafficking, President Mamnoon stressed the need of a comprehensive effort to counter narcotics and illicit drugs in the region and its neighbourhood under the ambit of SCO.

He stated that Pakistan was a natural and logical partner of SCO as it shares deep rooted historical and cultural links with its members. He reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to SCO’s Charter and to the Shanghai Spirit. He also underscored Pakistan’s commitment to peace and stability in Afghanistan through an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned process of peace and reconciliation. He welcomed President Ghani’s initiatives towards this end.

President Mamnoon, in his address also thanked member states, SCO Secretary General and Director of Executive Committee of RATS for their valuable contribution towards Pakistan’s successful assimilation in the organization. He also commended the dynamic Chinese chairmanship under which SCO had made considerable progress.

Besides cooperation Agreements/MOUs in various fields such as cooperation on countering threats of Epidemics; MOU on stimulating cooperation in the SMEs, and cooperation in Customs related fields were signed.

President Mamnoon Hussain held bilateral meetings with President Xi Jinping of China, President Putin of Russia, President Rahmon of Tajikistan, President Rouhani of Iran and President Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan. He also interacted with other SCO leaders on the sidelines of the Summit.

The Council of the Heads of State, which convenes annually, is the highest decision-making forum of the SCO. It reviews performance of the organization and its bodies and makes fundamental decisions about future course of action. China has held chairmanship of the Council since the last Summit in Astana in June 2017, which will now pass on to Kyrgyzstan.

Xi Jinping chaired the meeting today which was participated by the Heads of State of SCO Member States which, besides the President of Pakistan, included the Presidents of Kazakhstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Prime Minister of India. The leaders of four Observer States of SCO; Presidents of Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia also participated in the meeting.

The Heads of State held a ‘restricted format’ meeting of the leaders of member states in the morning followed by a plenary session. The leaders exchanged views on contemporary regional and global issues. They agreed to further enhance cooperation and mutual trust to realize the maximum potential offered by the organization.

The Heads of State reiterated their commitment to the Charter of SCO and to the “Shanghai Spirit” which includes reference to mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for cultural diversity and pursuit of common development.

The Summit witnessed signing of over 20 documents outlining future SCO trajectory in a number of spheres. Besides the Qingdao Declaration these included: Action Plan on implementing the provisions of Treaty on Long-term Good Neighbourliness, Friendship and Cooperation; Cooperation Plan on Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism; Anti-Drug Strategy and its Plan of Action, Concept on Preventing the Abuse of Narcotic Drugs; Declaration on Trade Facilitation; Vision on Environment Protection; and Joint Appeal of Heads of State on the necessity to prevent involvement of youth in activities of destructive nature and Action Plan.

An MOU for cooperation between SCO and UNESCO was also signed at the occasion. The Council confirmed appointment of new Secretary General of SCO N.V. Imamovich and G.D. Fayozovich new Executive Director of SCO’s Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure.