Issue Brief on “20th SCO Summit: Strengthening Cooperation in Fighting Covid-19”

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The meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Member States was held on November 10, 2020. Due to the pandemic, the meeting was organized virtually and it was chaired by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The meeting was attended by leaders of China, Pakistan, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Belarus and Mongolia. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also addressed the summit.[1]

The topics of discussion included regional security, economic development and strengthening of cultural and humanitarian ties amongst the states.  Not surprisingly, the fight against Covid-19 was the major talking point. Leaders of all the countries called for collaboration in controlling the spread of coronavirus and ensuring sustainable economic growth. To share the results of the 20th SCO Heads of State Council Meeting, the SCO Secretariat hosted a press conference by SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov on November 16, 2020. The Secretary-General apprised that the activities of existing cooperation mechanisms in the sphere of health care and sanitary-epidemiological well-being were intensified while a number of meetings, forums and consultations were held on the fight against COVID-19. On the adoption of the document titled ‘Joint Response to the New Coronavirus Infection’, he said that it symbolises the factors of unity, cohesion and mutual support that the SCO member states provide to each other under the “Shanghai spirit”.[2]

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