Mikhail Mishustin took part in a meeting of the Heads of Government Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation via videoconference.
Heads of delegations of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation member states:
Minister of External Affairs of the Republic of India Subrahmanyam Jaishankar
Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Alikhan Smailov
Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China Li Keqiang
Prime Minister and Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office of the Kyrgyz Republic Akylbek Japarov
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Bilawal Bhutto Zardari
Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Mikhail Mishustin
Prime Minister of the Republic of Tajikistan Kokhir Rasulzoda
Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan Abdulla Aripov
Mikhail Mishustin’s remarks:
Mr Li Keqiang, colleagues,
First of all, I would like to convey President of Russia Vladimir Putin’s best wishes to you and his kindest words to your leaders.
I would also like to congratulate the leadership and the people of friendly China on the success of the 20th Congress of the Communist Party. This was a major event, watched with great interest in Russia. I wish our Chinese friends further fruitful work and success in achieving all the tasks approved at the Congress as part of the new stage of China’s comprehensive modernisation.
I would also like to offer my condolences to our Indian colleagues in connection with the tragedy in Gujarat. We sincerely sympathise with the families and friends of the victims of the bridge collapse and wish a speedy recovery to the injured.
Let us now turn directly to the subjects of today’s event.
As President of Russia Vladimir Putin said at the SCO Heads of State Council meeting in Samarkand in September, our organisation continues to develop steadily and increase its role in addressing international and regional issues and in maintaining peace, security and stability throughout the vast Eurasian space.
Our meeting today is taking place in difficult circumstances. The processes of fundamental transformation in world politics and economics are accelerating, and a fairer international order is taking shape.
In spite of these global trends, the collective West continues to try to impose its own rules. It is using illegal sanctions, interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states, blackmail and provocations. All of this has a negative impact on the global security architecture and economic stability. There is a slowdown in global economic growth and volatility in the energy, commodity, raw materials, food and financial markets.
Russia continues to come under increasing pressure. More than 12,000 unilateral restrictive measures have been taken against our country. They affect key financial institutions, technology, oil and gas, mining, transport and other economic sectors.
But we have managed to overcome negative scenarios and create conditions for stabilising our economic dynamics, and adopted measures to ensure the stability of public finances and for the gradual recovery of consumer demand and investment activities.
By the end of October, inflation in Russia was 13 percent compared to about 18 percent in April. It is also noteworthy that, in January-August, Russia’s trade with the SCO member states increased by more than a third and exceeded $150 billion. We will continue to do everything necessary to consolidate this positive trend and strengthen cooperation in all areas.
We consider ensuring global food security to be a priority of our joint work. We fulfil in good faith international contracts aimed at solving this strategic task.
Russia worked in a constructive manner as part of the Black Sea Initiative under the auspices of the UN on Ukrainian agricultural exports. We did so responsibly, despite the failure to fulfil the agreements on lifting all illegal restrictions on Russian fertiliser and food.
At the end of last week, the Ukrainian side attempted a terrorist attack against Russian warships and civilian ships in the Sevastopol Bay. Now it is impossible to guarantee the safety of the established humanitarian corridor. We had to suspend our participation in the grain deal. Nevertheless, we will continue the dialogue with the UN and Turkiye on topical issues under the agreements signed in Istanbul. Regardless of the prospects of the grain deal, Russia is ready to provide up to 500,000 tonnes of grain to the countries that are most in need free of charge, taking into account this year’s harvest, as well as to supply grain to all interested states at affordable prices.
It is important that the SCO countries account for more than a tenth of the world turnover of agricultural goods. Over the first eight months of this year, the volume of foreign trade in Russian agricultural products and foodstuffs with several SCO member states increased almost by one quarter and amounted to about $8.5 billion.
Expanding cooperation on this track is in great demand.
Strengthening energy security is another topical task. We have all the necessary experience and tools for this: I mean the SCO Energy Club, established at the initiative of President of Russia Vladimir Putin in order to promote practical cooperation in the energy sector. We have to make better use of it, above all, to implement the decisions made at the recent SCO summit in Samarkand.
We hope that the meeting of energy ministers will yield specific proposals for the implementation of these decisions.
A few words about joint projects in the transport sector. This is one of the most advanced areas of SCO activity.
Eight years ago, the Agreement on Facilitation of International Road Transport was signed. Six routes have been launched that involve the use of multilateral permits for traffic.
It is necessary to speed up the removal of all restrictions that hinder this in order to fully implement the significant transit potential of the Eurasian region.
Another common task is to achieve independence from the influence of third countries in the financial sector. For this purpose, we propose establishing an SCO system for the electronic exchange of financial data and bank transfers. We believe it would be possible to use national interbank telecommunication platforms as reserve channels in mutual transactions. This multi-faceted approach would create more predictable, clear and reliable conditions for our businesspeople. And of course, it is important to speed up the transition to using national currencies.
At the Valdai Club meeting last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that this is inevitable. Payments in national currencies will eventually prevail. This is the logic of a sovereign economic and financial policy in a multi-polar world.
Sustainable economic development is also impossible without addressing climate change. Russia launched a national system for climate change projects. We are building a legal framework for managing greenhouse emissions and providing incentives to reduce them.
In late September, the SCO held a seminar on the climate agenda to share best practices and advanced low-carbon technologies, to merge methodologies and carry out joint projects, and to develop approaches to releasing carbon units. We must continue this exchange of experience.
Developing contacts between our peoples results in strong support for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. First, I am talking about youth exchanges, dynamic cooperation in healthcare, science, education, culture and tourism. And, of course, links in sports. Russian athletes had to face the most serious pressure under the collective West even though it may seem like sports should be beyond politics.
The SCO member states are united in ensuring that sport competitions remain an effective and available way to strengthen trust and understanding between peoples. Together, we must fight against any attempts to destroy the high principles of the Olympic movement.
The initiative proposed by the Russian President in Samarkand on establishing sport associations under the aegis of the SCO serves this purpose. It can bring together representatives of sport associations in the countries that are members of the SCO, BRICS, the EAEU and the CIS while remaining open to other participants. Our athletes will be able to demonstrate their achievements in honest competitions at large-scale events. And we will focus primarily on public sports in addition to professional sports.
As the President of Russia noted at the Valdai Club meeting, the value and significance of Eurasia is in its self-sufficient system with giant resources and huge possibilities. The more diligently we work on improving the connectivity of Eurasia, creating new paths and forms of cooperation, the more impressive success we achieve.
As the September summit compellingly showed, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation continues to become stronger as one of the most influential and respected associations across Eurasia, which will be elevated by Iran and Belarus soon joining us as full members and by the growing number of dialogue partners, including countries in the Middle East.
Our countries have everything they need to move forward confidently: a developed legal and regulatory framework, an effective system of industrial cooperation and, what is equally important, strong cooperation experience accumulated over decades. By using this experience, we will be able to achieve dynamic development in our economies and improve our citizens’ quality of life.
Finally, I would like to once again thank you, Mr Li Keqiang, and all of our Chinese colleagues for this meeting.
Our friends in Kyrgyzstan are taking over the chairmanship in the Council of the Heads of Government. I wish you, Mr Japarov, successful and productive work. Russia will offer any support with respect to planning the substantive part of our trade and economic cooperation and further consolidation of the SCO.