Minister for Foreign Affairs Bilawal Bhutto stressed a collective action by the regional countries under the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to jointly address the common issues, particularly climate change, poverty and terrorism.
Addressing the SCO meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers in India’s Goa city, he said that the geopolitics must not affect the commitment to address challenges and learn lessons for the collective good. “The solution to our collective challenges should be collective action, not a divided reaction. We must isolate these issues from hyper-partisan geopolitics if we are to succeed.”
Chairman of SCO Council of Foreign Ministers Dr S Jaishankar, the foreign ministers of member states, the SCO secretary general, and director of the Executive Committee of SCO-RATS attended the meeting. Bilawal Bhutto said that Pakistan considers the SCO a key regional platform comprising countries, which are bound together by longstanding historical, cultural, civilizational and geographical ties.
Pakistan proposes a Joint Working Group in Shanghai Cooperation Organization on Climate Change, as climate crisis poses an existential threat to humanity
“Our excuse cannot be we were too divided to put up a fight,” Bilawal Bhutto said. He highlighted Pakistan’s vision of enhanced regional economic connectivity and win-win cooperation. He said that the climate crisis posed an existential threat to humanity and proposed the establishment of a Joint Working Group in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization on Climate Change.
He mentioned that Pakistan recently faced the greatest climate catastrophe and stressed that the planet could only be saved from ravages of the climate change if the global community worked in unison. He emphasized holding the developed world up to their commitment to providing $100 billion annually for climate finance. On connectivity, he said that Pakistan looked forward to hosting the conference on transport connectivity for regional prosperity in September 2023.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor could be a force multiplier for regional connectivity, he said, adding that the route CPEC offered all countries to take the journey further and connect the dots towards full regional economic integration. He congratulated Iran, which would soon become the newest member of the SCO family and welcomed the accession of Bahrain, Kuwait, Maldives, Myanmar and the United Arab Emirates as new dialogue partners.
He said that poverty still plagued this region and mentioned that Pakistan was proud of the internationally acclaimed Benazir Income Support Program which ushered in a silent revolution of poverty alleviation together with women’s empowerment. He said that the establishment of the Special Working Group on Poverty Alleviation proposed by Pakistan would be a step in that direction.
Pakistan announces to hosting conference on transport connectivity for regional prosperity in September 2023
Bilawal Bhutto termed the collective security of the region a joint responsibility and said terrorism continued to threaten global security. “Let’s not get caught up in weaponizing terrorism for diplomatic point-scoring,” he said, and recalled that he spoke as the son whose mother was assassinated at the hands of terrorists. “I feel the pain of this loss, empathize with victims across the world in a way most can’t.”
He said that Pakistan was firmly committed to being part of regional and global efforts for eradicating this menace that required a comprehensive and collective approach to address the root cause as well as the threats posed by specific groups. “It requires that we let this challenge unite us to fight it rather than divide us to become its victim. Our success requires us to isolate this issue from geo-political partisanship,” he said.
“We must stop conflating non-state actors with state actors. Condemn all forms of terrorism including state-sponsored terrorism,” he pointed out. On Afghanistan, he called upon the global community to meaningfully engage with the interim Afghan government to better understand and influence the course of events, especially on girls’ right to education and security.
He called on the interim authorities to uphold their commitment to not allowing the use of Afghan soil for terror. “A stable Afghanistan is a key not only to regional integration and economic cooperation but also to global peace and stability.” He said that Pakistan remained committed to multilateralism and continues to play a leading role at all world forums for forging friendly relations among nations.
He commended China’s recent role in bridging differences between Saudi Arabia and Iran and said that “When great powers play the role of peacemaker, we can unlock the potential of peace while paving the way for greater cooperation, regional integration, and economic opportunities for our peoples.” He expressed Pakistan’s unwavering support and commitment to the SCO’s goals and objectives, saying that SCO represented the future with 40 percent of the world’s population and almost a quarter of the world’s GDP.