August 19, 2007
ADDRESS by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan H.E. Mr. Islam Karimov at the delegation-level meeting of the Council of heads of the SCO member-states
Dear heads of states! Distinguished participants of the meeting!

It renders me a profound satisfaction to greet the heads of the SCO member-states and express gratitude to the President of the Kyrgyz Republic Kurmanbek Bakiev for the cordial hospitality and good organization of the meeting of Council of heads of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization states.

I welcome the heads of delegations of the observer countries present here - India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan, the guests of our summit - presidents of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan, as well as the Deputy UN Secretary General Lynn Pasco.

For over the past period of six years the profound political and organizational work was accomplished on strengthening the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the practical steps were undertaken on enhancing the multilateral and fruitful interaction on implementing its main goals and objectives.

I support the assessments, which were enunciated here by the SCO heads of states, on the growing role and place of the SCO as an authoritative international organization in establishing the regional and global architecture of security, as the most significant guarantor of preserving peace and stability in the strategically important and vast region of Eurasian space.

One may speak with confidence that the SCO today becomes an important center of the struggle against international terrorism, separatism, extremism, and the ever expanding in its scale drug aggression.

The \"Shanghai process\" has established a reliable platform for the interaction in political and diplomatic sphere, in implementing the large-scale economic and humanitarian projects aimed at rational and effective use of the rich natural, energy, human and intellectual resources of the states in the region.

I am convinced that the package of the most important documents, which is being signed during the summit, firstly, the Treaty on long-term good neighborliness, friendship and cooperation, will render a new quality, new impetus to our versatile cooperation based on the principles of true partnership and mutual respect.

Dear participants of the summit!

Availing myself of this opportunity I would like to dwell upon particular, in our view, the outstanding issues, which are directly related to the agenda of this summit.

The Central Asia due to its growing geopolitical and geo-strategic significance, enormous natural, economic and resource potential continues to remain at the focus of attention of the world community as a region, where the threats and challenges to security and stability still remain.

And one of the main reasons for that is the continuing tension in Afghanistan. We, the closest neighbors of Afghanistan, cannot but be seriously concerned and alarmed with currently unfolding situation in this country, which is characterized with a tendency to a further aggravation given the significant rise of military activeness of the \"Taliban\" movement, and continuing uncontrolled considerable growth of drug production and drug trafficking.

In our opinion, however it would sound paradoxically, the ways of achieving peace and stability in Afghanistan should be searched not in further militarization and expansion of the scale of application of force, but in demilitarization and implementation of projects with the help of world community, firstly, those of social nature, resolution of the most outstanding social and economic problems, and support of the country\'s population.

In this context, it is of an extraordinarily importance the achievement of consensus and the concerted efforts of all powers, which are truly interested in stabilization of the situation in Afghanistan and its revival.

One of the main priorities in achieving the program goals and raising the SCO\'s authority is a further broad expansion and deepening of economic cooperation built on implementation of the large interstate projects in the region in the sphere of communications, fuel and energy, effective and rational utilization of water and rich mineral resources.

Establishment of modern productions based on the joint investment projects not only in mining and processing sectors, but also in the sphere of high technologies could emerge as the most important factor, which contributes to the solving of the most outstanding problems of people\'s employment, ensure the sustainable economic development arid, eventually, the social and economic security and stability in the region.

In this context, I would like to briefly dwell upon the issues of the reasonable use of the water and energy resources in the region of Central Asia, which currently give raise to various and ambiguous approaches.

It should be especially underscored that we are speaking not in general about the water resources of the countries in the region, but the use of resources and watercourses of only the transboundary rivers, i.e. about the resources of rivers, which at all times had maintained the vitally important needs of states located in the basins of those rivers.

At the moment, these are the interests of more than 50 million people, which reside in six countries of the region. Therefore, all decisions on the use of flows of those rivers, including during construction of the hydro-energy facilities, must consider in mandatory order these interests.

Otherwise this might much worsen the state with provision of water in the lower reaches of Amudarya and Syrdarya, accelerate the ecological catastrophe of the drying Aral Sea, and make it practically impossible to reside here for tens of millions of people of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

The UN Convention on the protection and use of transboundary watercourses and international lakes of September 18, 1992, the Convention on the law of the non-navigational uses of international watercourses adopted by UN General Assembly on May 21, 1997, obligate to consider, quote, \"to ensure that transboundary waters are used in a reasonable and equitable way, taking into particular account their transboundary character, in the case of activities which cause or are likely to cause transboundary impact\".

In case of infliction of damage all measures must be taken to liquidate or abate such damage, and if needed the issue of compensation is put forward.

It is underscored in the UN decisions that \"the watercourse States shall cooperate on the basis of sovereign equality, territorial integrity, mutual benefit and good faith\".

Proceeding from these fundamental requirements of the UN conventions, the technical feasibility studies of new hydro-technical facilities in the basins of transboundary rivers must be subjected to a mandatory fair examination on the part of neutral international audit organizations. The guarantees must in place so that the construction of facilities will not have irremediable ecological consequences and will not infringe the established balance of the use of watercourse by all states, which are located along the flow of those rivers.

I would like to underscore that in accordance with their answers such international financial bodies as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank adhere to such principle position. Only such objective approach can ensure the success in implementing the projects on the use of water and energy resources of the region.

In our opinion, the issues of further strengthening the role of the SCO Secretary General acquire the vital importance. As a matter of fact, he is laid on with a very responsible task to ensure the efficiency of coordination the work of Secretariat and other SCO bodies, in particular the RATS, Business Council, Inter-bank Association, and SCO Forum for unconditional implementation of decisions, which were adopted, and which are being adopted within the framework of organization.

First of all, the very SCO Secretary General creates the working environment in the organization, and figuratively speaking, he must be a mouthpiece of entire organization and firmly stand by the common interests of member-states, while being not reserved on the particular national priorities.

In this regard, it would be an expedient while proceeding from the experience of most international organizations to consider the issue on appointment of the secretary general for a five years term with further rotation from the ranks of experienced and authoritative diplomats and statesmen of the SCO countries.

In our view, this will enable the SCO executive bodies to fuller and consecutively realize the objectives before the SCO on the ground of continuity.

In conclusion allow me to express the confidence that this summit and decisions adopted in it will be a new landmark in the consistent resolution of objectives on ensuring security and stability of the region, and sustainable development of the SCO countries.


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