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17 September 2021, 15:14

Dushanbe hosts joint meeting of SCO, CSTO leaders

Photo courtesy of kokhinavruz.tj
Photo courtesy of kokhinavruz.tj

DUSHANBE, 17 September (BelTA) – The leaders of the member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) held a joint meeting in Dushanbe on 17 September to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, BelTA has learned.

A session of the CSTO Collective Security Council took place in Dushanbe on 16 September. A meeting of the Heads of State Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was held on 17 September. Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko earlier suggested joining efforts of the two organizations to resolve the Afghan crisis and hold a joint meeting.

This new joint format provided for an additional and focused discussion of the current situation in Afghanistan as well as the ways to respond to emerging challenges and threats.

On the whole, the leaders agreed on the need for concerted action on this issue and made a number of proposals to develop mechanisms for cooperation between the SCO and the CSTO. The participants of the meeting focused their attention on potential threats such as the proliferation of large quantities of weapons left in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of the U.S. troops and their allies, drug trafficking, the growth of terrorist and extremist moods, uncontrolled migration, and human trafficking. The unacceptability of such manifestations both within Afghanistan and at the cross-border level was emphasized in the speeches of all the participants of the summit. The parties agreed on the need to coordinate efforts in this regard.

Attention was also drawn to the severe humanitarian and food crisis faced by Afghanistan and the need to help the Afghan people in this situation in order to guarantee peace and security in the region and prevent further destabilization of the situation. In this direction there is a general consensus on the provision of humanitarian assistance, particularly under the auspices of the UN. The parties took note of the need to work out both immediate and long-term measures. It was suggested that the new Afghan administration should have access to previously frozen international assets of this country. It was also emphasized that the burden of supporting and improving the situation in Afghanistan should be borne by those whose actions have led to this - the United States and its NATO allies.

The leaders of the SCO and CSTO countries also voiced suggestions about the need to build some form of dialogue with the new leadership in Afghanistan. It can be done at the informal level so far and not as an official recognition, but for pragmatic purposes. These contacts would make it possible, among other things, to contribute more effectively to solving humanitarian problems in Afghanistan, to resolve issues related to regional security, and to continue the interrupted trade and economic cooperation.

The participants of the joint summit emphasized at the same time that the Taliban who has come to power must consistently implement their declared intentions. This concerns the organization of an inclusive dialogue inside Afghanistan, so that all ethnic groups are represented in the government, observance of the rights and freedoms of ethnic minorities, women and human rights in general. It is also important to take active steps to prevent the aforementioned threats as regards the spread of terrorism, drug trafficking and the illicit arms trade. At the same time, the destiny of Afghanistan must be decided exclusively by the people of that country, without any prejudice to its sovereignty.

As BelTA reported earlier, Aleksandr Lukashenko said at the SCO summit that the neighboring countries are also interested in having a stable partner nearby, which means they need to help Afghanistan in solving the existing problems. “The history teaches us: the two largest, most powerful states (the Soviet Union and America) have been trying, partly by force, to solve the problems in Afghanistan for 30 years. What happened in the end? You know it from the recent events. The problems must be solved peacefully. The Afghan state and people should be treated as equals. Afghanistan should get help. Only in this way we can painlessly resolve the problems,” stressed the Belarusian leader.

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