Scourge of terrorism needs to be addressed, says FM Bilawal at SCO meeting

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BEIJING, NOV 1: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Tuesday stressed the need to address the scourge of terrorism in all its manifestations — including state terrorism.

The minister expressed these views at the 21st meeting of the Council of Heads of Government (CHG) of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) virtually hosted in China.

The CHG is the second highest forum of the SCO, where heads of government of member states exchange views and provide policy guidance on emerging regional and global issues in the context of regional connectivity, economic integration as well as sociocultural and humanitarian cooperation.

The heads of the governments of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan as well as representatives from the SCO Observer States also attended the meeting.

In his speech today, Bilawal outlined that achieving lasting peace and security in the region was important for economic development.

He went on to underline the importance of sustained and practical engagement with Afghanistan in order to help the Afghan people overcome the humanitarian and economic crises afflicting their country.

The foreign minister said that enhancing economic and trade between the SCO member states would build greater connectivity across the region and help unlock the political and economic potential of the intra-SCO cooperation.

Here, he also mentioned the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) — the flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative — stressing that it supplemented SCO’s vision of shared prosperity through regional connectivity and integration.

Bilawal then thanked the SCO countries for expressing solidarity with and extending support for the flood-affected people in Pakistan.

He highlighted the significance of collective action to combat the far-reaching devastating impact of climate change and urged developed countries to fulfill their commitments on climate finance, which he said would help developing countries address climate change for meeting sustainable development goals.

Towards the end of his address, the foreign minister reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment toward SCO and highlighted actions taken by the country aimed at advancing regional cooperation based on principles enunciated in the “Shanghai spirit”.

Bilawal also announced that the first meeting of the SCO Special Working Group on Poverty Alleviation will be held in Islamabad in December this year.