Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev

The SCO Council of Heads of Government Meeting

Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev

Speech by the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev at the expanded SCO Council of Heads of Government Meeting:

Mr. Chairman, colleagues and heads of delegations!

First of all, I would like to thank the Kazakh side for their excellent job hosting and hospitality, and once again, in the presence of all of the participants, to congratulate our Kazakh friends on their national holiday - Independence Day - which will be celebrated tomorrow. Kazakhstan has come a long way in building a modern and efficient state, remaining a partner of Russia, and today I would like to wish you prosperity.

Distinguished colleagues, it has already been mentioned that the world is full of challenges, and our meeting is taking place amid a growing crisis in the global economy. There are problems related to politics, there are problems concerning security, including in our region, and the entire SCO security space is facing this challenge. In this difficult environment, we need to develop joint efforts for further cooperation in all areas - economy, security, and, of course, to maintain the overall socioeconomic stability in our countries.

Russia will preside over the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation during the next year and considers it important to strengthen economic cooperation between our states through a new quality of project activity within the organisation, which was just mentioned by my colleagues. The organisation has long been operating, but we have not launched ambitious projects so far, though all of the members have a good mind to do this. Our main goal is to make the Programme of Multilateral Trade and Economic Cooperation through 2020 and the list of activities for further project development through 2016 as practical as possible. They should be revised in accordance with actual needs and the actual situation. Certainly, the business community, including the SCO Business Council and the SCO Interbank Consortium, could also contribute to this process.

We are planning to hold the SCO Business Summit in June 2015 as part of the annual St.Petersburg International Economic Forum. We would welcome the participation of representatives from business communities from all the countries represented here. I hope that a specific package of proposals will also be formulated after the forum.

As it has already been noted here, we have also discussed this issue at a limited attendance meeting. SCO projects should receive funding, and they should receive a set of financial tools that we need to create. Actually, this is already an urgent issue. The existence of a financial support mechanism is an essential condition for successful project implementation. Therefore the countries concerned should complete their consultations on establishing this mechanism in the near future. They should decide on the format and on an agency serving as the foundation for this work. Regardless of whether this is the Eurasian Development Bank or some new agency, we need to make this decision. This is already obvious.

The creation of a common transport space is another promising aspect of our joint work. I believe that the agreement on international road haulage, signed in September 2014, will increase the interdependence of SCO member states. Next, we'll implement a programme for the coordinated development of roads, now being assessed by the agencies of SCO member states.

Our partners are also currently reviewing several documents in the area of information and telecommunications technology. One of them stipulates reduced prices and rates for roaming services, and the second document deals with data exchanges for verifying electronic signatures. This is very important for quickly signing contracts and for verifying the needs of those who are signing the contracts. I believe that these initiatives are important to a considerable number of people.

The Energy Club is facing new opportunities, with due consideration for current price fluctuations on global raw materials markets, primarily hydrocarbons (oil and gas). We should more actively use this platform for reviewing energy security issues and for merging the stances of all market participants, including energy producers, transit countries and those using energy resources. From the very outset, we should, of course, focus on modern and mutually beneficial contracts in this area.

Expanded contacts with multilateral organisations and forums, including the APEC economies and ASEAN, will help strengthen our organisation. I hope that the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation will obtain additional dividends by establishing cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union that will start functioning in 2015. As I see it, we need to expand our opportunities for mutual cooperation. This will be useful.

Ladies and gentlemen, the future of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is inseparably linked with expanded contacts between individuals and with youth projects. In this connection, we have implemented the successful SCO University project uniting almost 70 education institutions. We expect to sign an intergovernmental agreement on establishing a SCO University next year.

Moreover, we should expand cooperation in the area of healthcare, and we should strive to prevent the most dangerous threats now facing all people, including the most dangerous diseases, such as the Ebola virus. In this connection, I am urging you to more actively implement the programme for distributing information about the epidemiological status caused by infectious diseases, in SCO member states.

And I would also like to assure you that Russia will try hard to achieve the goals of our organisation during its presidency. Thank you for your attention.