The 7th Prime Ministers' Meeting of the SCO Member States Convenes Premier Wen Jiabao Attends and Addresses the Meeting
The 7th Prime Ministers' Meeting of the SCO Member States convened in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan on October 30, 2008.
The meeting gathered prime ministers from the SCO member states, including Kazak Prime Minister Karim Masimov, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Kyrgyz Prime Minister Igor Chudinov, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Tajik Prime Minister Akil Akilov and Uzbek First Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Azimov, and the representatives from the SCO observer countries, including Mongolian Prime Minister Sanj Bayar, Iranian First Vice President Parviz Davoodi, Pakistani Defense Minister Chaudry Ahmad Mukhtar, and Indian Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde. First Vice President of Afghanistan Ahmad Zia Massoud attended the meeting as the guest of the host country. Prime Minister Karim Masimov chaired the meeting.
In August this year, the 8th Meeting of the Heads of Government Council was held in Dushanbe, capital of Tajikistan. The heads of state agreed to further deepen the Organization's cooperation in politics, security, economy, culture and other fields. The meeting adopted the Regulations on Status of SCO Dialogue Partners, which laid a new legal basis for the Organization to further open up and expand cooperation. The mission of this meeting is to promote the full implementation of the consensus reached at the Dushanbe summit and further promote pragmatic cooperation between SCO member states in various fields.
The prime ministers of the six member states first held a small-scale meeting, exchanging views on issues of common concerns in relation to the development of the SCO. Premier Wen expounded China’s views and proposals on related political, economic, trade and cultural issues.
Premier Wen Jiabao delivered a speech at the large-scale meeting later on. He said that the spread of the current international financial crisis will inevitably bring about challenges and pressures to the development of the Organization. We have to unite and work together effectively to enhance our ability to ward off risks and seize opportunities. We need to make better use of the existing policy coordination and consultation mechanisms, in particular, the mechanisms of cooperation between out central banks and economic authorities, and discuss bilateral and multilateral measures responding to the financial crisis. This meeting will convey a strong message to the outside world, that is, all the member states of the SCO will jointly deal with the crisis, stabilize the financial and economic market and establish the confidence in the market. The Chinese side is willing to further strengthen communication and coordination with the other members and take effective measures in a firm, responsible, and timely manner so as to minimize the impact of the crisis.
In order to implement the SCO's Treaty on Long-Term Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation and enhance pragmatic cooperation among its member, Premier Wen put forward the following proposals: first, efforts should be made to further facilitate trade and investment among the member states. Measures are needed to enable more investment and major economic and technological cooperation apart from trade in goods and improve regional trade and investment environments. China supports the cooperation on establishing special economic zones among adjacent regions of the SCO members; secondly, an interconnected infrastructure network within the SCO region needs to be established. Efforts should be made to accelerate the implementation of demonstration projects in energy, transportation and communication and gradually make the infrastructure of SCO members interconnected; thirdly, efforts should be made to consolidate cooperation in finance and among enterprises. The financial sectors should work together for a better understanding of the global macro-economic and financial situations, enhance coordination on their monetary and financial policies and improve financial supervision; fourthly, efforts should also be made to find innovative thinking of development and improve the cooperation mechanisms among SCO members. Measures are needed to open up new cooperation possibilities and deepen agricultural cooperation.A study should be carried out on the establishment of a mechanism for scientific and technological cooperation. SCO members should start collaboration on clean energy, new material, new technologies and the industrialization of scientific achievements.
Wen said that in order to support the Organization’s large-scale economic cooperation projects, China will continue to work on the provision of new preferential loans to the member states and actively consider donating the start-up fund for "the SCO Development Fund" when it is set up. The Chinese side is willing to assist the member states in setting up demonstration centers for agricultural technologies.
Wen said that the SCO should strengthen cooperation in a wide range of areas such as culture, education, healthcare, disaster prevention, disaster relief, and post-disaster reconstruction and support the exchanges between the younger generations.
Wen stressed that China will continue to adhere to the reform and opening up, unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development, and pursue the foreign policy of "being a good neighbor and partner". China will, as always, share opportunities, stay united and create prosperity together with the countries in the region and make unremitting efforts for lasting peace and development of the region.
The parties analyzed the global and regional financial and economic situation and believed that against the backdrop of the current world financial turbulence and the global economic slowdown, the member states should strengthen coordination and cooperation and promote trade and investment facilitation and regional economic integration so as to meet challenges, avoid risks, and maintain and promote the healthy and stable economic and financial development of the SCO member states and the region.
The meeting discussed the cooperation within the framework of the Organization. The parties agreed that strong efforts should be made to promote cooperation in areas such as trade, investment, transportation, energy, telecommunications, customs, agriculture, science, technology, information, environmental protection, disaster prevention and relief; efforts should be made for the planning and construction of network infrastructure. Priority should be given to the implementation of large projects having the participation of multiple parties and benefiting them. Efforts should be made to further explore the roles of the Entrepreneurs' Committee and the Bank Syndicate of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and encourage financial institutions to carry out various forms of cooperation in the context of liquidity shortage in the market. Efforts should be made to stabilize financial markets, strengthen financial supervision, and ensure financial security. The parties agreed to further absorb the observer countries of the Organization to participate in economic and cultural cooperation of the Organization.
The meeting amended the Implementing Measures and Plans on the Outline of Multilateral Economic and Trade Cooperation among the SCO Member States.
Bolat Nurgaliyev, Secretary General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and Kasimov Vyacheslav Temirovich, Director of the Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) of the SCO were also present at the meeting.
After the meeting, the heads of delegations of member states signed a series of documents including a joint communiqué (the full text will be published separately) and met with reporters. On the same day, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev met with the heads of delegations.
The next prime ministers’ meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will be held in China in 2009.