CPEC supplements SCO's vision of regional connectivity: FM Qureshi
Says Pakistan supports SCO's emphasis on the central role of UN in maintaining peace and security
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the flagship project of the One Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) supplements the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation's (SCO) vision of regional connectivity and economic integration.
While addressing the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers moot in Moscow, Qureshi appreciated SCO as a platform for enhancing closer relations with regional partners and realising the benefits of the emerging connection between the and Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).
Speaking about the projects, the foreign minister said CPEC will bring economic prosperity for Pakistan and the region.
Qureshi said Pakistan's experience in poverty alleviation has proposed establishment of an SCO Joint Working and SCO Centre of Excellence on Poverty Alleviation. He thanked member states for their support.
The foreign minister also expressed Pakistan's delight in becoming the newest member of the SCO Youth Council. He said the country is looking forward to actively participating in it.
Referring to the coronavirus outbreak that has affected millions of people worldwide, Qureshi said Pakistan is open to sharing its experiences in combating the virus, following the decline in Covid-19 cases and deaths.
Referring to Prime Minister Imran Khan's Global Initiative for Debt Relief, the foreign minister said this initiative will help developing countries to mitigate the adverse economic impact of the pandemic.
In addition, Qureshi appreciated China's assistance with material and technical support during the crisis and appreciated China's effective handling of the crisis. He said the member states can turn this crisis into an opportunity to showcase SCO's real potential in fostering regional cooperation. The foreign minister highlighted the virtual meetings of the SCO Foreign Ministers and Health Ministers in May and July that discussed multilateral efforts to fight the pandemic.
Furthermore, Qureshi said Pakistan supports SCO's emphasis on the central role of the United Nations (UN) in maintaining peace and security.
Hinting at India, the foreign minister condemned and opposed any unilateral and illegal measures to change the status of disputed territories in violation of the United Nation's Security Council (UNSC).
In a recommendation to the SCO, Qureshi said members should carry out joint research in diverse fields, with an objective to find an effective vaccine for Covid-19 and make it accesible to all as a global public good.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi reiterated that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan is central to peace and stability in the region and beyond. He said Pakistan has long held there is no military solution to the conflict in the region and the only long-term solution is dialogue.
"The US-Taliban Peace Agreement is a significant step forward in this direction," he said, adding that Pakistan believes the Afghan stakeholders must seize this opportunity and work together to secure an "inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement."
The foreign minister said to be vigilant of "spoilers" within and outside who do not want peace and stability to return to Afghanistan. "The intra-Afghan negotiations process will not be without challenges."
"We look forward to consultations in the SCO-Afghan Contact Group to further facilitate the Afghan peace and reconciliation process," Qureshi said.
The foreign minister vowed to actively promote cooperation in the divere range of sectors through the SCO. He urged members to work together to address the resurgence of facist ideologies and violent nationalism.
He said SCO members should focus on promoting regional connectivity projects and avoid viewing these projects as a narrow political prism but rather pursue them for the achievement of sustainable development in the region.