Pakistan rejects unilateralism in global affairs at SCO meeting at UN

New York, 28 November, 2018

Decrying unilateralism in international affairs, Pakistan has told a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization at the UN that the SCO represents an effective platform to strengthen multilateralism and evolve a collective response to the challenges at hand.

Speaking at the high-level meeting, Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said the increasingly complex and multifaceted challenges facing the world were being further compounded by the pursuit of narrow national interests and unilateral measures adopted by some states that are undermining an international order, based on dialogue and cooperation.

"Addressing these challenges requires reinvigorated efforts to evolve joint responses," the Pakistani envoy added.

On its part, Pakistan was ready to foster regional peace, stability and development as well as support the effort against terrorism and extremism, she said.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guetters and his SCO counterpart Rashid Alimov presided over the meeting.

Ambassador Lodhi welcomed the increasing UN-SCO cooperation, saying Pakistan supports the regional bloc's efforts in combating the "three evils" -- terrorism, separatism and extremism.

"Pakistan has been the primary victim of terrorism for the last forty years," the Pakistani envoy said, adding, "We have lost much blood and treasure in our campaign against terrorism."

But, she said, terrorists and their evil acts have never shaken Pakistan's determination to continue the fight to defeat it.

"Through our successful multi-pronged approach, Pakistan has been able to turn the tide against terrorism," Ambassador Lodhi told the gathering.

In her remarks, she lauded the progress made by SCO, saying the regional bloc could be a bulwark against growing protectionist, xenophobic and neo-colonialist impulses.

Underlining SCO’s role as a catalyst for economic growth, she said Pakistan accords the highest priority to regional connectivity by building on its existing bilateral ties. Describing the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a strong manifestation of that commitment, she said the project would benefit not just the two countries, but the entire region and beyond.

Pledging to work with SCO partners to further the common goals, the Pakistani envoy said, "We are optimistic that (the Organization) will continue to grow stronger, making our region a bastion of peace and prosperity."

In his opening address, the UN chief highlighted the complementary approaches between the two bodies, including preventive diplomacy, to address complex issues in the region.

He said the UN was “committed to work closely with the SCO towards a stable and prosperous Eurasia region where people can enjoy peace, sustainable development and respect for human rights – the fundamental values that led to the development of the United Nations.”

One of the key shared priorities, Guterres highlighted was greater inclusivity, particularly through greater engagement and participation of women and young people, especially in peace building.

“Women must have a meaningful role in all peace processes,” said the UN chief, noting that women’s participation, at all levels, has “proven essential” to sustainable peace and resilient societies.

Youth, he continued, have “great potential” to promote peace and tolerance and champion innovation, recalling Youth2030, the UN Youth Strategy, which he launched in September.

“The empowerment of women and young people, in the broader context of a vibrant civil society, is a solid basis for peace and human security,” added the UN chief.

Guterres also spoke of partnership between SCO and the Turkmenistan-based UN Regional Centre for Preventative Diplomacy (UNRCCA), contributing to peace and stability in Central Asia, including in counterterrorism and prevention of violent extremism.

Established in 2001, the SCO is a political, economic, and security alliance of countries in the Eurasia region. Its membership includes Pakistan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. In addition, Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia are SCO observer states.