ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has called for developing greater connectivity amongst the SCO member states to unlock the geo-economic potential of the region.
Addressing the meeting of the Council of SCO Foreign Ministers in Dushanbe, the foreign minister said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) supplements SCO’s vision of regional connectivity and economic integration.
The foreign minister said the SCO needs to focus on collective economic development that intertwines with our national Sustainable Development Goals. “Our agencies dealing with achieving Sustainable Development Goals must meet at least once a year and share experiences and best practices in a spirit of cooperation and shared progress,” he said.
Qureshi said there is a need to create the necessary linkages between CEOs and entrepreneurs of SCO member states to promote business partnerships. He said empowerment of women in different walks of life is a shared objective within SCO. Contributing towards this goal, he said SCO Women Entrepreneurs Forum be established.
Regarding the situation in Afghanistan, the foreign minister said Pakistan stands ready to work with SCO member states in reinforcing efforts for sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan.
He said Pakistan has played its part in facilitating the peace process aimed at forging a comprehensive, broad-based and inclusive negotiated political solution that is Afghan-led and Afghan-owned.
He said the unfolding situation in the wake of withdrawal of US troops and in the absence of a peace deal is a matter of serious concern. “The rise in violence in recent weeks has exacerbated an already volatile situation. A specter of chaos and escalated conflict looms large that would also give space to the ‘spoilers’ who wish to see the reign of instability in Afghanistan and the region,” he said.
He called on all Afghan parties to engage constructively and work for a negotiated political solution. He emphasised the need for addressing root causes of terrorism and extremism.
Regarding challenges posed by COVID-19, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said called for collective efforts to combat the wide ranging effects of the pandemic.