ISLAMABAD: Secretary-General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Vladimir Imamovich Norov has said that Afghan conflict can only be solved through political dialogue and not through military means and an inclusive peace process should follow the principle of ‘Afghan-led’ and ‘Afghan-owned’.
It may be mentioned here that Pakistan and China both have taken this principled position that Afghan conflict can only be solved through political dialogue and not through military means.
“Our starting point is that the conflict in Afghanistan can only be solved through political dialogue, and an inclusive peace process should follow the principle of ‘Afghan-led’ and ‘Afghan-owned’,” said the secretary general of the SCO in an exclusive interview with Global Times.
“We are ready to continue the joint work of the “SCO-Afghanistan” liaison group. The next high-level meeting of the liaison group will be held in Dushanbe in July this year. The purpose is to discuss specific measures to implement the joint “roadmap” for further action. In addition, the SCO is one of the first regional organizations to put the issue of information security on the agenda,” he added.
PAKISTAN, INDIA ADDITION TO SCO CLUB WELCOMED:
Norov said that the addition of Pakistan and India to the SCO has significantly expanded the scope of SCO activities and the cooperation in ensuring regional security. He added that the induction of Pakistan and India has also increased and deepened the economic and cultural cooperation of the SCO.
“The rising geopolitical tensions, common threats, and challenges today call for our collective efforts to build a more just and polycentric world order and to develop comprehensive programs to combat these threats,” said the SCO Secretary General.
He added that the growing negative trends in the international community and the increasing common threats and challenges facing the SCO countries make it necessary for us to coordinate our efforts in order to safeguard our positions and interests. The most important task now is to reject populism and protectionist ideas, he said during an interview with Global Times.
“In practice, the SCO followed the guidelines of the SCO Development Strategy until 2025 and is prepared to continue its efforts to expand and deepen cooperation within the SCO as well as with the international community, with a view to ensure security and prosperity in the Eurasian region,” he said.
Norov said that new threats and challenges to global and regional security posed by the pandemic, information, and communication technologies, bioterrorism, drug trafficking, and cross-border organized crime call for an integrated approach to deal with them on an inclusive and multilateral basis.
“Since its establishment, the main purpose of the SCO has been to maintain and strengthen regional peace and stability. Three months before the September 11 incident in 2001, the SCO signed the Shanghai Convention on Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism, and for the first time clearly defined terrorism, separatism and extremism,” he added.
The adoption of the document shows that the founding countries of the SCO had a clear recognition of the new challenges and threats facing international security at the time, and have since embarked on the path of uncompromising struggle against them.
“Up to now, the SCO has formed a set of documents regulating anti-terrorism and anti-extremism. A major step taken recently in this area is the signing of the SCO Convention on Combating Extremism by the heads of member states in 2017. This convention is universal and open, and any country concerned can join,” he said.
Norov said another important cooperation direction of the SCO is to combat drug trafficking. “Of the opioids intercepted in the entire Eurasian continent each year, 40 percent are seized by our cooperative anti-drug agencies from traffickers. Since 2019, in the International Anti-Drug Operation Spider Web, practical measures have been formulated to jointly address international and regional drug problems, aiming to stop the supply of plant and synthetic drugs, including cracking down on the spread of the drugs via the dark web,” he added.
The SCO secretary general said the SCO pays special attention to the new challenges and threats created by the complex military-political and criminal situation in Afghanistan.