MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION
INFORMATION AND PRESS DEPARTMENT
32/34 Smolenskaya-Sennaya pl., 119200, Moscow G-200;
tel.: (499) 244 4119, fax: (499) 244 4112
e-mail: email@example.com, web-address: www.mid.ru
I am glad to welcome all participants of this roundtable.
The participation in the present meeting of delegations from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization member and observer countries bears out the fact that the initiative put forward by Russia in 2006 within the framework of our G8 presidency, of strengthening antiterrorist public-private partnerships is consistently evolving, winning new supporters and spreading to new regions.
After the launching of the initiative, the appropriate events were held within the UN, the OSCE and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. Now it is on the SCO agenda. We regard the Organization as an authoritative multilateral structure and an irreplaceable dialogue and coordinating mechanism in the realm of security. I am convinced that the SCO is fully able to contribute substantially to deepening wide integrative processes, reinforcing stability and solving the economic, social and humanitarian problems facing the Eurasian region.
Developing the SCO is a foreign policy priority for Russia. This is our strategic course. A reflection of this approach is the packed program of the Russian SCO chairmanship, particularly in the realm of security.
As you know, a special SCO conference on Afghanistan took place in Moscow on March 27. Its participants discussed and agreed on the concrete measures to combat terrorism, illicit drug trafficking and organized crime, which pose a serious threat not merely to the security of the SCO member and observer states, but of the countries in the region and across the world. The outcomes of the conference constituted a concrete contribution to increasing the effectiveness and coordinatedness of joint efforts by the international community in countering these threats. These outcomes were also welcomed at the Afghanistan conference held in The Hague.
A theoretical and practical conference on the theme of “SCO activities in countering new regional security challenges” will be held in Moscow on April 15, with the Russian Federation Security Council playing an initiating role.
Work on the antiterrorist front is an indubitable priority in the SCO. A draft convention against terrorism is basically agreed upon which will be submitted to the upcoming SCO summit in Yekaterinburg in June for consideration. Work on the draft of an Intergovernmental Agreement on cooperation in the field of international information security is in the concluding stage. In September last year antiterrorist exercises were held in Volgograd to test and improve collaboration in the protection of ecologically hazardous infrastructure facilities. Similar exercises are to be held in April in Tajikistan.
Extending our cooperation to such an important area as the antiterrorist partnership of state and nonstate, primarily entrepreneurial, structures will doubtless help improve the effectiveness of these efforts. The activities of the SCO Business Council and Interbank Association, in whose framework the government bodies of member countries actively cooperate with the business community, provide an additional groundwork for that.
We presume that state authorities and the corporate sector are natural allies in countering terrorist threats. Their close cooperation in solving the tasks arising in this context is an indispensable component of antiterrorist efforts which are undertaken both nationally and internationally. We are convinced that the collaboration should be underlain by the principles of voluntary association, reciprocal interest and a clear awareness of the specifics of the functions of state and private structures in questions of security and antiterror and of their comparative advantages.
In economic life there are spheres in which the state and business are simply duty bound to establish and foster constant and full-fledged cooperation in the interest of preventing and suppressing terrorist and related manifestations. They are transport and the protection of critical, primarily energy, infrastructures and international trade. In these spheres there are quite a few gaps which terrorists and their accomplices can avail themselves of. Undoubtedly, it is also cyberspace: information technologies are often being used for purposes incompatible with the task of maintaining international stability and security, and the notions cyber terrorism and cyber crime have, unfortunately, become firmly established in our lexicon.
The struggle against the ideology of terrorism merits special attention; it calls for active cooperation by state authorities, the business community and public structures, including nongovernmental organizations, as also the media. It must be predicated on the strengthening of the common counterterrorism space and the purposeful furtherance of the ideas of intercivilizational, interreligious and intercultural dialogue. The potential for such cooperation is enormous and business circles together with NGOs will be able to play an important role here and to come up with their own approaches and initiatives in countering terrorism in the broadest sense of the notion.
In their turn, states must strive to provide the business community with more information and guidelines on concrete aspects of the terrorist danger, to keep entrepreneurial circles, to the extent possible, informed about what the competent agencies are already doing on the antiterrorist front and to familiarize them with the already mastered ways of countering and preventing terrorist activities.
The presence in our forum of the Russian partners in furthering the international initiative of counterterrorism public-private partnerships – companies Norilsk Nickel and Lukoil, the International Academy of Television and Radio, the MTsTM company, the International Association ‘Nature and Creation’ and, of course, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the National Antiterrorist Committee – causes satisfaction. We appreciate that their participation in the initiative bears a practical character, and aims at real results in enhancing the antiterrorist protection of the state and society in individual branches of the economy and spheres of activity.
I am certain that our roundtable will help the further strengthening of the counterterrorism public-private partnerships in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and will provide a good basis for its being fleshed out with projects capable of giving a real “added value” to efforts in the antiterror sphere. Russia will facilitate this in every way.
Thank you for your attention. I wish you fruitful work.