PM Imran gives roadmap for enhanced SCO cooperation, connectivity

04:01 PM | 14 Jun, 2019
PM Imran gives roadmap for enhanced SCO cooperation, connectivity
BISHKEK – Prime Minister Imran Khan has urged the member states of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to finalise arrangements for trade in local currencies, and set up SCO Fund and SCO Development Bank to catalyse the trans-regional development agenda, the Radio Pakistan reported.

He was presenting his eight eight-pronged course of action for SCO on the turf of international politics at the 19th meeting of SCO Council of Heads of State in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on Friday.

The PM said "we should reinforce our vision of cooperation, that rejects confrontation, and advance the imperatives of peaceful co-existence at the regional and international levels".

He said the SCO member states should galvanise the "Shanghai Spirit" to strengthen the organization's core mandate of mitigating the risks of conflict, fostering confidence, and promoting stability.

Imran Khan said the SCO member states need to synergize the various region-wide connectivity initiatives, and work on complementing infrastructure connectivity with soft connectivity.

He proposed setting up SCO Culture & Tourism Corridors, clustering multiple SCO destinations into a single package.

Imran Khan emphasised on making SCO more relevant to the daily lives of citizens by promoting food security and enhancing cooperation in health and humanitarian sectors.

He said SCO should take the lead role in establishing a comprehensive framework for combating corruption and white collar crime.

Khan said SCO should prioritise women and youth empowerment by focusing inter-alia on strengthening the Women Forum and the Youth Council and mandating them to promote gender mainstreaming, skills acquisition and jobs mobility.

He insisted on bridging the gap between region-specific research and policy by launching feasibilities for creating SCO Centres of Excellence on Poverty Alleviation, De-Radicalization, Connectivity, and New Technologies.

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The Pakistani premier said South Asia continues to be challenged by common enemies: poverty, illiteracy, disease and under-development.

He said political differences and unresolved disputes further compound the predicament.

Imran Khan asserted that enduring peace and prosperity in South Asia will remain elusive until the main dynamic in South Asia is shifted from confrontation to cooperation.

"It is important to seize the opportunities for peaceful resolution of outstanding disputes and collective endeavours for regional prosperity," he stated.

He continued that Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including State-terrorism against people under illegal occupation.

"We (Pakistan) are among the few countries to have successfully turned the tide against terrorism.

"Pakistan remains ready to share its experience and expertise in counter terrorism. We will also remain actively engaged in SCO's counter-terrorism initiatives."

Referring to the Afghan issue, PM Imran said there is finally a realization that the conflict in Afghanistan has no military solution.

He said Pakistan is fully supporting efforts for peace and reconciliation, through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process.

"We deem this to be part of a shared responsibility and, therefore, appreciate the positive contributions being made by China, Russia and Afghanistan's immediate neighbours," he shared and added that SCO's support for post-conflict Afghanistan will remain crucial.

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Expressing concern over evolving situation in the Gulf and Middle East, the PM said: "We join the SCO members in urging the parties to exercise restraint, take steps to de-escalate the situation, and find solutions through diplomatic means.

"We believe implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action by all parties is essential for international and regional stability."