The Shanghai Cooperation Organization Council’s sixteenth meeting of Heads hosted by Uzbekistan on 23-24 June 2016 in Tashkent  concluded with Tashkent Declaration. SCO meet was attended by President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of China Xi Jinping, President of Tajikstan Emomali Rahmon, President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov. Uzbek President Islam Karimov chaired the meeting. SCO Secretary General Rashid Alimov and Director of the Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) of the SCO Yevgeniy Sysoyev also attended the meeting. The heads of SCO observer states Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, President of Afghanistan Ashraf Gani, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, President of Mongolia Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, President of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain, Iran’s Foreign Affairs Minister of Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif and the guest of the presiding state Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov also attended and addressed the meeting. UN leaders also participated the summit.

The leaders accorded India and Pakistan member status and said it shall increase the potential of the Organization and contribute to the further enhancement of its role in the international arena as a multilateral mechanism for addressing the urgent problems of contemporary time, ensuring security, stability and sustainable development in the region and the world as a whole. They also  welcomed Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Armenia, the Kingdom of Cambodia and Nepal as SCO Dialogue Partners.

The leaders noted the importance of continuing the mutually beneficial multifaceted cooperation in the energy sphere, including in the field of renewable and alternative energy sources.

The leaders decided to counter the continuing threats and challenges of global financial and economic crisis. They noted the importance of the establishment of fair and equitable world order to strengthen the political and economic stability. It was decided to have a coordinated actions for further expansion of mutually beneficial trade and economic cooperation within the Organization, including through the creation of favorable conditions for trade, mutual investments and cooperation between business communities. In order to provide financial support to project activities, Member States shall continue the consideration of the issue of establishment of the SCO Development Bank and the SCO Development Fund (Special Account). It was decided to further strengthen cooperation in the spheres of trade, industry, finance, investments, agriculture, customs, telecommunications, including the use of satellite navigation systems, and other spheres of mutual interest.

With the view of enhancing cooperation in the field of tourism, forming a common tourist space, intensifying tourist exchanges, the authorized representatives of Member States signed the Program of Cooperation of SCO Member States in the tourism sector.

The leaders of the grouping also stressed to pay special attention to the development of bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the spheres of public health, science and technology, education, environment protection, sports, tourism, study and preservation of cultural and natural heritage of the SCO region, including along the «Great Silk Road».

SCO leaders noted the importance of arrangements on security cooperation achieved at the Tashkent summit. The members emphasized the importance of creation of an effective platform of extensive cooperation in countering the challenges and threats to regional security, international terrorism and extremism, including its religious and other manifestations. They also agreed upon combating cross-border organized crime, strengthening border security, joint fight against illegal migration and human trafficking, money laundering, financing of terrorism and economic crimes. The leaders reaffirmed the support for the initiative of the People’s Republic of China on the creation of the Silk Road Economic Belt.

Member States praised the presidency of the Republic of Uzbekistan in the SCO and expressed gratitude to the Uzbek side for the traditional warm hospitality extended during the Tashkent summit.

The next meeting of the Council of Heads of Member States of the SCO will be held in June 2017 in Astana, the capital city of the Kazakhstan. The Republic of Kazakhstan will also take over the presidency in the Organization for the upcoming period.

Based on the information provided by the Embassy of Uzbekistan in New Delhi.

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