Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Chinese president calls on military to focus on preparing for military action

    Wednesday, September 21, 2022   No comments

Chinese President Xi Jinping has called on the Chinese People's Liberation Army to "focus on preparing to engage in real combat".

According to China Central Television, the Chinese president sent such instructions to the participants of the National Defense and Military Reform Symposium, held in Beijing, which was attended by members of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee.

The Chinese president also instructed to strictly adhere to the plan to achieve the goals of the reform of the army, noting the need to strictly adhere to the path of implementing the pre-set reform goals.

Earlier, in response to US President Joe Biden's statements about the possibility of using the US military to protect Taiwan, the Chinese government expressed its willingness to "take all necessary measures" to protect its state's sovereignty.

In turn, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi urged the United States to adopt a rational and pragmatic policy, and act on the Taiwan issue correctly.

At a meeting with former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in New York, Wang Yi said that "any cold war between Beijing and Washington would be disastrous for bilateral relations and the entire world."

On Tuesday, US President Joe Biden announced that the United States does not support Taiwan's independence from China, despite their joint cooperation, stressing that Washington will provide protection to Taiwan in the event of a military conflict with China.

China earlier vowed to take legitimate and necessary countermeasures.

From the special operation to the partial mobilization... What is the significance of Putin's latest decision?

    Wednesday, September 21, 2022   No comments

Today, Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree declaring partial mobilization in the Russian Federation.

Partial mobilization is based on the implementation of the recruitment of citizens of the Russian Federation who have previous military experience, or who have undergone military courses in the army, and have a certain level of training, to participate in the fighting in Ukraine, without asking the general public. This is what distinguishes it from the general mobilization that affects all segments of society between the ages of 18 and 50.

Military service contracts concluded by military personnel in this case are based on a specific material allowance, and they are valid until the end of the partial mobilization period.

In light of this decision, senior officials in Russia, according to the official document of the declaration, must ensure conscription through partial mobilization within the time limits set by the Ministry of Defense. In the event that there are not a number of people wishing to join, the state takes a decision to compel any person who has military experience, or who has completed a specific course, to join the military.

Putin's declaration of bold mobilization in Russia means that the Russian leadership has taken a decision to move from the stage of a "special operation" to declaring "protecting Russia's sovereignty" in the face of the West.

A "special operation" is an operation based on a specific category of the army, which carries out specific and clear military action. In the case of the Russian military operation, the goal was only to "eliminate Nazism in Ukraine". Now the battle has entered the stage of the "war on Ukraine", which is a comprehensive battle related to the sovereignty of Russia itself, and not only the threat from Ukraine, and groups of the people, not the army alone, and the various categories of the army, not specific teams or groups of it, will fight together over the A wide geography, and within a country or group of other countries.

In the war, the battle will refrain from targeting only specific areas, as happened in the "special operation", and the war will develop into a broader field that may include, according to expectations, targeting Crimea, infrastructure, and decision centers in Kyiv. If Kherson, Zaporizhia and the Donbass are included, the battles in them will become battles within what is considered "Russian territory".

According to Putin, Russia is ready to use "all means" to protect its territory, including Moscow's willingness to use weapons of mass destruction if it is forced to make such a decision.

The announcement of the decision, today, reflects Russia's quest to achieve specific goals before the start of the winter season, on the one hand, and on the other hand, the end of the last phase and the start of a new phase of the conflict in Ukraine. Undoubtedly, it will carry an escalation against the West, which Putin called in his speech today the "enemy" that will be "fighting to protect Russia."

The Russian President said during a televised speech on Wednesday that his country "will support the decision that the residents of Donbass, Zaporozhye and Kherson will take on their future," referring to the referendum's support for the accession of these regions to the Russian Federation.

In a speech on the Russian military operation in Ukraine today, Wednesday, Putin added that there are "anti-Russian plans in Ukraine, as they turned the Ukrainian people against Russia," explaining that the Ukrainian army planned "to launch operations against Donbass and launch an attack on Crimea, and for this we launched Operation in Donbass.

The Russian president considered that "those who fight in the Donbass are professional heroes and volunteers who defend Russia and Donbass," stressing that the Russian forces "liberated the largest part of the lands of Kherson and Zaporozhye, according to the established plan."

The Russian president indicated that "Kyiv has obtained an order to undermine the proposals for a peaceful solution," explaining that "Washington, Germany and others give orders to Kiev against Russia."

He continued, "The West has crossed all lines in its hostile policy against Russia, and we constantly hear threats against our country and people."

Putin addressed the situation in the areas controlled by the Russian army, and said that "the citizens of the liberated areas do not want to be under Nazi rule," adding: "We cannot abandon the people of the land. That is why the parliament in Donbass took a decision in a referendum for self-determination and accession." to Russia".

He considered that "the threat to the Zaporozhye plant is a nuclear threat... Russia has a nuclear weapon, and we will use all means to protect Russia's territory."

The Russian President stressed that anyone who threatens his country's territory and the unity of his country "will be confronted by Russia."


Meanwhile, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that his country "is at war, not only with Ukraine, but also with the collective West."

"Ukraine is increasingly using Western weapons to strike civilians," Shoigu added, noting that "Kyiv has already lost half of its army," and that "its losses exceed one hundred thousand," in addition to the killing of "more than 2,000 mercenaries."

And he considered that "the West has crossed all limits in its policy of hostility to Russia." Also, the Russian Defense Minister revealed that "300,000 people from the reserves were called up when partial mobilization."

Yesterday, Tuesday, the President of the Lugansk People's Republic, Leonid Pasechnik, signed a law "on the conduct of a referendum on the accession of the Lugansk People's Republic to the Russian Federation."

Last Monday, the Public Chamber of the Lugansk People's Republic submitted a request to President Leonid Pasechnik and the People's Assembly, to immediately organize a popular poll to recognize the republic as a Russian entity.

Also, the head of the administration of the Kherson province, Vladimir Saldo, announced his approval to hold a popular referendum on the accession of the province to Russia, while the head of the administration of the Zaporozhye region Yevgeny Palitsky announced, on Tuesday, that the referendum on the province's accession to Russia will take place from 23 to 27 September. 

Monday, September 19, 2022

Media Review: India's economy has surpassed that of the United Kingdom in terms of size, making it the fifth largest in the world

    Monday, September 19, 2022   No comments

India succeeded this year by taking advantage of the events surrounding it and getting as far as possible from the war in Ukraine and the sanctions imposed by European countries on Russia, so that its economy exceeded the United Kingdom and made it the fifth largest economy, knowing that this transgression is not the first time, as India, the former British colony, has already emerged as the fifth The strongest economy in the world, surpassing Britain and France in 2019, according to a report by the World Population Review Center, based in the British capital, London.

Weeks ago, the International Monetary Fund revealed in its latest figures that just a decade ago, India's GDP was the eleventh in the world, but with 7% growth expected for 2022, India's economy has surpassed that of the United Kingdom in terms of size .

According to the International Monetary Fund, the growth of the Indian economy was accompanied by a period of rapid inflation in the United Kingdom, which led to a cost-of-living crisis and the risk of a recession, according to what the Bank of England predicted.

The IMF also explained that this situation, along with a turbulent political period and Brexit, led to Indian production exceeding the United Kingdom in the last quarter of 2021, with the first of 2022 offering no change in the arrangement.

Looking ahead, the International Monetary Fund expects India to overtake the UK more until 2027, making India the fourth largest economy by then, and leaving the UK in sixth place.

On an adjusted basis, using the dollar exchange rate on the last day of the first quarter, India's economy in "nominal" monetary terms in the quarter ending March was $854.7 billion. On the same basis, the UK economy was at $816 billion.

Reasons for the growth of the Indian economy

And the newspaper "The Guardian" revealed that one of the main reasons for the rise of India's economy is its ability to develop its manufacturing sector.

The newspaper considered that India has already benefited from a large educated middle class, which contributed to the development of the information technology and pharmaceutical sectors on a global level.

It also has strong consumer demand, which accounts for about 55 percent of the economy, compared to less than 40 percent in China, according to the newspaper.

Indian President Modi's market reforms, which included lowering the corporate tax from 35% to 25%, and opening India to more foreign investment, have also contributed to the liberalization of entrepreneurs.

The same context was reported by the American newspaper "The New York Times", which attributed this growth to a set of government policies, including increased public investment, forgiveness for debtors, credit guarantees that helped keep inflation relatively under control, and time the public from economic shocks.

Good relations with Moscow and Brussels in the service of the economy

In the same article, The New York Times noted that India's purchase of discounted oil from Russia, contrary to the wishes of Western allies, helped prevent the country's energy prices from rising.

India's neutral stance on the war in Ukraine has also allowed the volume of trade between India and Russia to rise by nearly 120% this year, according to Russian Presidential Aide Yuri Ushakov.

Indian Ambassador in Moscow Pavan Kapoor also noted that the volume of trade between Russia and India has been growing in size and scope in recent months. He added that companies in both countries are working to overcome obstacles to closer cooperation posed by sanctions.

India has moved towards enhancing exchange with partner countries using local currencies, which will strengthen its currency, and is currently working with Moscow on taking bilateral measures to expand the use of national currencies in mutual settlements.

Likewise, India has boosted its purchases of Russian crude over the past six months, while the United States has repeatedly urged New Delhi to support setting a price ceiling for Russian oil, which the latter has not agreed to.

Data in July showed that India's imports of crude oil from Russia jumped to a record level of about 950,000 barrels per day in June, which constitutes about 20% of the total imports of the third largest consumer of crude in the world.

On the other hand, India decided, in June, to resume negotiations with the European Union after a 9-year hiatus, with the aim of concluding a free trade agreement at the end of 2023.

The European Union is India's third largest trading partner, and the value of exchanges between them amounted to about 120 billion euros in 2021.

Britain retreat

The decline in Britain's global ranking, according to the "Bloomberg" website, is an uncomfortable development for Prime Minister Liz Truss, whose country is facing the highest inflation rate in four decades, with the risks of economic recession rising.

The latest official data showed that the British economy grew less than expected in July, raising the risk that the country may have already entered a recession, with demand for electricity falling due to a sharp rise in energy fees, and the construction sector affected by a jump in the cost of raw materials.

Warnings of recession, inflation and economic problems in Britain continue daily, and recently, for example, British government experts warned that the country would plunge into a deeper energy crisis, within a year, without an immediate plan to improve homes and dramatically reduce demand for gas.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Samarkand Declaration of the Council of Heads of State of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (Full text)

    Sunday, September 18, 2022   No comments
1. The leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Member States (hereinafter referred to as "the SCO" or "the Organization"), as a result of the meeting of the Council of Heads of State in the city of Samarkand on 16 September 2022, declare the following.

2. Today, the world is undergoing global changes, entering a new era of rapid development and large-scale transformation. These fundamental processes are accompanied by stronger multipolarity, increased interconnectedness, accelerated pace of informatization and digitalization. Against this background, the current system of international challenges and threats is becoming more complex, the situation in the world is dangerously degrading, existing local conflicts and crises are intensifying and new ones are emerging.

3. The growing technological and digital divide, continued turbulence in global financial markets, global reduction in investment flows, instability in supply chains, increased protectionist measures and other barriers to international trade add to the volatility and uncertainty in the global economy.

4. The impacts of global climate change and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic pose additional challenges to economic growth, social well-being and food security, as well as to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. To this end, new approaches are required to promote more equitable and effective international cooperation and sustainable economic development.

5. The member states, based on the proximity or convergence of assessments of the current regional and international agenda, reaffirm their commitment to a more representative, democratic, just and multipolar world order based on the universally recognized principles of international law, multilateralism, equal, common, indivisible, comprehensive and sustainable security, multicultural and civilizational diversity, mutual benefit and equal cooperation among states with a central coordinating role for the UN.

6. The SCO Member States, in accordance with the principles of the SCO Charter, adhere to a line ruling out bloc, ideologized and confrontational approaches to addressing international and regional development problems and countering traditional and non-traditional challenges and threats to security. Taking into account the views of Member States, they confirm the relevance of initiatives to promote cooperation in building a new type of international relations in the spirit of mutual respect, justice, equality and mutual benefit, as well as forming a common vision of creating a community of shared destiny for humanity.

7. The Member States advocate respect for the right of peoples to independently and democratically choose their political and socio-economic development, and stress that the principles of mutual respect for sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity of States, equality, mutual benefit, non- interference in internal affairs, and non-use or threat of use of force are the basis for sustainable development of international relations. They reaffirm their commitment to peaceful settlement of differences and disputes between countries through dialogue and consultation.

8. The member states reaffirm the non-targeting of SCO against other states and international organizations and openness to extensive cooperation with them in accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, the SCO Charter and international law based on the consideration of mutual interests and common approaches to solving regional and global problems.

9. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization today has firmly established itself as an authoritative and influential multilateral association whose activities are aimed at ensuring peace, security and stability, jointly confronting new challenges and threats in the SCO region, and strengthening trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian relations among SCO countries.

10. The member States emphasize the historic significance of the SCO Charter adopted 20 years ago, which laid the foundation for close, fruitful and multifaceted cooperation among the SCO member States based on the "Shanghai spirit" of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, mutual consultation, respect for cultural diversity and the desire for joint development. They believe that consistent implementation of these principles contributes to a new model of regional cooperation that makes a constructive contribution to strengthening mutually beneficial multilateral relations in Eurasia.

11. The Member States intend to further develop cooperation in the fields of politics and security, trade, economy, finance and investment, cultural and humanitarian relations with the aim of building a peaceful, secure, prosperous and environmentally friendly planet Earth, achieving a harmonious coexistence of man and nature.

12. Underlining the significance of the 15th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty on Long-term Neighbourliness, Friendship and Cooperation of the SCO Member States, the leaders of the SCO member States approved the Comprehensive Plan for its implementation for 2023-2027. The Member States will further increase the SCO's participation in efforts to ensure peace and security, advocating the settlement of international and regional conflicts by exclusively peaceful political and diplomatic means in order to strengthen relations between the Member States so that the friendship of their peoples is passed on from generation to generation.

13. The Member States consider Central Asia to be the core of SCO and support the efforts of the countries of the region to ensure prosperity and peace, sustainable development and the formation of a space of good-neighbourliness, trust and friendship. They advocate further strengthening the role of SCO in enhancing stability and socio-economic development in the region, welcome the holding of regular consultative meetings of the heads of State of Central Asia and, in this regard, note the success of the regular summit on 21 July 2022 (Cholpon-Ata, the Kyrgyz Republic).

14. The Member States believe that the ongoing efforts to enhance connectivity between Central Asia and South Asia contribute to the common goal of ensuring prosperity and security in the vast SCO region by building sustainable trade, economic, transport and communication links and strengthening the dialogue among civilizations.

15. The Member States expressed deep concern over the security threat posed by terrorism, separatism and extremism in all its forms and manifestations and strongly condemned terrorist acts around the world. They stressed the importance of consistent implementation of the 2022-2024 Programme of Cooperation of the SCO Member States in countering terrorism, separatism and extremism (Dushanbe, 17 September 2021).

16. Member States, while reaffirming a strong commitment to fight terrorism, separatism and extremism, resolve to continue to take active measures to address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, cut off terrorist financing channels, suppress terrorist recruitment and cross-border movement, counter extremism, radicalization of youth, spread of terrorist ideology, and eliminate sleeper cells and places used as terrorist safe havens.

17. Member States note the inadmissibility of interference in the internal affairs of States under the pretext of countering terrorism and extremism, as well as the inadmissibility of the use of terrorist, extremist and radical groups for selfish ends.

18. The member States consider it important to step up joint efforts of the international community to counter attempts to draw young people into the activities of terrorist, separatist and extremist groups, paying particular attention to preventing the spread of religious intolerance, aggressive nationalism, ethnic and racial discrimination, xenophobia and ideas of fascism and chauvinism.

19. The Member States note the effective work of the SCO Regional Anti- Terrorist Structure in promoting cooperation among competent authorities in combating terrorism, separatism and extremism. The parties stress the importance of implementing practical measures aimed at strengthening its capacities for practical cooperation in these areas.

20. The Member States, in accordance with their national legislation and on the basis of consensus, will seek to develop common principles and approaches to form a unified list of terrorist, separatist and extremist organizations whose activities are prohibited on the territories of the SCO member states.

21. The Member States noted the results of the joint anti-terrorism exercises of the competent authorities of the SCO member states "Pabbi - Anti-Terror - 2021" and the joint border operation of the border services of the competent authorities of the SCO member states "Solidarity - 2019-2021", as well as the effective presidency of the Republic of India in the SCO RATS Council (2021-2022).

22. The Member States consider it necessary to implement the decision of the SCO CHS on improvement of mechanisms to counter challenges and threats to security of the SCO Member States taking into account the relevant initiatives on establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Anti-Drug Centre in Dushanbe as a separate permanent body (Republic of Tajikistan); on establishment of the Universal Centre to Counter Challenges and Threats to Security of the SCO member-states based on the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure in Tashkent city.

23. The SCO Member States will continue to cooperate in the field of international information security on the basis of the Agreement between the governments of the SCO member states of 16 June 2009 (Ekaterinburg) and the corresponding Cooperation Plan for 2022-2023.

24. Member States will develop cooperation among relevant authorities in Member States to promote digital literacy in order to bridge the digital divide.

25. Member States emphasize the key role of the UN in countering threats in the information space, creating a safe, fair and open information space built on the principles of respect for state sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries.

26. They consider it important to ensure the equal rights of all countries to regulate the Internet and the sovereign right of States to manage it in their national segment.

27. Member States are categorically against the militarization of the ICT sphere, considering it necessary to ensure the use of modern technologies for peaceful purposes, to create a safe, fair and open information space built on the principles of respect for state sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries.

The Member States reiterate the key role of the United Nations in countering threats in the information space. They support the development of universal rules, principles and norms of responsible behavior of states in this area, including welcoming the launch of a comprehensive international convention on combating the use of ICTs for criminal purposes under the auspices of the UN. Member States will continue to cooperate in the relevant negotiation mechanisms at the UN and other international fora.

28. Member States call upon the international community to strengthen global cooperation in countering terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, with the UN playing a central role through full implementation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in accordance with the UN Charter and the principles of international law, without politicization or double standards, respecting the sovereignty and independence of all states, and to seek consensus on the adoption of a Comprehensive Convention on Combating International Terrorism.

29. Member States noted the outcomes of the international conference on the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Joint Plan of Action to implement the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in Central Asia (Tashkent, 3-4 March 2022).

30. The Member States noted the efforts of the Republic of Tajikistan in promoting multilateral cooperation in combating terrorism and its financing in the Central Asian region ("Dushanbe process") and holding the next high-level conference on "International and Regional Security and Cooperation in Border Management to Combat Terrorism and Prevent Movement of Terrorists" together with UN in Dushanbe on 18-19 October 2022.

31. Member States noted the nomination of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (2025-2026), the Kyrgyz Republic (2027-2028), the Republic of India (2028-2029), the Republic of Tajikistan (2028-2029), the Republic of Kazakhstan (2039-2040) as non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, as well as the nomination of the Kyrgyz Republic (2023-2025) and the People's Republic of China (2024-2026) for membership of the UN Security Council.) and the People's Republic of China (2024-2026) for membership of the UN Human Rights Council, the candidacy of the Republic of Kazakhstan for the post of President of the UN General Assembly for 2031-2032, and the candidacy of the Republic of Tajikistan for membership of the UN Economic and Social Council for 2024-2026.

32. The Member States, having noted the outcome of the Meeting of Secretaries of Security Councils of the SCO Member States (Tashkent, 18-19 August 2022), confirmed their readiness to further expand cooperation in countering threats to stability and security in the SCO region.

33. The Member States noted the outcome of the Meeting of the SCO Defence Ministers (Tashkent, 24-25 August 2022) and advocated further enhancement of defence and security cooperation. They also stressed the importance of holding regular joint military counter-terrorism command and staff exercises "Peace Mission" to enhance the level of cooperation in combating armed formations of international terrorist organizations and improve counter-terrorism methods.

34. Member States expressed their concern about the increasing threats posed by the increased production, trafficking and abuse of narcotic drugs, using the proceeds of drug trafficking as a source of financing of terrorism. They stressed the need for a joint and balanced approach in countering drug trafficking and their precursors and noted the importance of implementing the international drug control conventions and other relevant legal instruments.

35. The Member States note that illicit drug trafficking and its non-medical use are a threat to international and regional security and stability, sustainable economic development of States, the health and welfare of peoples, as well as the exercise of fundamental human rights and freedoms. They stress the importance of consolidating forces to combat illicit drug trafficking and advocate the further active development of practical cooperation in this area.

36. Member States intend to continue to work together to oppose attempts to legalize the non-medical use of drugs, based on the inadmissibility of the legalization of drugs, which is regarded as a flagrant violation of the three relevant international conventions.

37. The member states will continue to conduct regular joint operations to suppress illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors, to take effective measures to prevent the spread of synthetic drugs, new psychoactive substances based on the SCO Anti-Drug Strategy for 2018-2023 and its Action Programme for its implementation. They noted the outcome of the Meeting of Heads of Competent Authorities of Member States Entrusted with Combating Illicit Drug Trafficking (Tashkent, 20 April 2022).

38. The Member States stand for active interaction with other interested states, regional, international organizations in this field. They noted the outcome of the joint SCO/UNODC high-level event (15 March 2022) during the 65th session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs and stressed the importance of continuing the SCO's involvement in implementing the Paris Pact initiative.

39. The Member States consider the sustained implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian nuclear programme important and, in accordance with UNSCR 2231, call upon all participants to rigorously implement their commitments for the full and effective implementation of the document.

40. The Member States that are parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons advocate strict compliance with the provisions of the Treaty, the comprehensive and balanced advancement of all its objectives and principles, the strengthening of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime, the pursuit of nuclear disarmament, and the promotion of equal mutually beneficial cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

41. Member States again draw attention to the negative impact of unilateral and unrestricted build-ups of global missile defence systems by individual countries or groups of States on international security and stability. They consider unacceptable attempts to ensure their own security at the expense of the security of other States.

42. Member States advocate multilateral political and diplomatic responses to global and regional challenges and threats to security, and will enhance cooperation and actively promote the multilateral arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation process, including efforts in the Conference on Disarmament.

43. The Member States are in favour of maintaining outer space free of weapons of all kinds and agree that it is important to ensure strict compliance with the existing legal regime regarding the use of outer space for exclusively peaceful purposes. They emphasize the need to conclude an international, legally binding instrument that would strengthen transparency and provide credible assurances against an arms - race and non-deployment of weapons in outer space.

44. Member States emphasize the importance of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction (BWC) as a pillar of the global security architecture. They stress the need for strict compliance with the BWC, including through the adoption of a Protocol to the Convention establishing an effective verification mechanism. They oppose the establishment of any mechanisms duplicating the functions of the BWC, including as regards the competence of the UN Security Council.

45. The Member States call for full compliance with the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction (CWC) as an effective disarmament and non- proliferation instrument. They stress the importance of the speedy destruction of all declared chemical weapons stockpiles. The Member States reaffirm their support for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and call for agreed decisions to overcome the divisions within the Organisation and to ensure its integrity and effective operation in accordance with the Convention.

46. The Member States believe that the early entry of the Protocol on Security Assurances to the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia into force will make a significant contribution to regional security and the strengthening of the nuclear non-proliferation regime for all signatory States.

47. The Member States proceed from the premise that there is no alternative to political and diplomatic solutions to conflict situations in various regions of the world on the basis of strict compliance with generally recognized norms and principles of international law.

The SCO Member States believe that one of the most important factors in preserving and strengthening security and stability in the SCO region is the speedy settlement of the situation in Afghanistan. They support the establishment of Afghanistan as an independent, neutral, united, democratic and peaceful State, free of terrorism, war and drugs.

Member States believe that it is critical to have an inclusive Government in Afghanistan, with representatives from all ethnic, religious and political groups of Afghan society.

The Member States, underlining the value of the long-standing hospitality and effective assistance extended by regional and neighbouring countries to Afghan refugees, consider the active engagement of the international community in facilitating their dignified, safe and sustainable return to their homeland to be essential.

Member States, in view of the evolving humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, supported continued efforts to assist the Afghan people.

48. The Member States noted the results of the XV Meeting of the SCO Forum (Russia, 26 May 2022) and stressed the importance of further development of the SCO Forum as a public consultative mechanism and a platform for expert dialogue on urgent issues of SCO business development.

49. Member States reaffirm their intention to develop practical cooperation in the field of law and justice, forensic science through the development of coordinated approaches to the exchange of experience, methodology of forensic examinations, advanced training of forensic experts.

50. They advocate the development of cooperation in the field of standard- setting, legal assistance, legal education of the population, as well as the continuation of efforts to create an online platform for the exchange of legal information, taking into account the provisions of national legislation.

51. Member States, in accordance with their national legislation, will enhance cooperation through their attorneys general's offices, ensuring law enforcement cooperation aimed at protecting human rights and countering contemporary challenges and threats of transnational crime, including the criminal use of ICTs, corruption, trafficking in drugs and their precursors, smuggling, terrorism, extremism, illegal migration, trafficking in persons, acts that infringe on the rights and freedoms of minors.

52. The Member States note that fruitful cooperation through the presidents of supreme courts is a reliable platform for improving joint activities in protecting human rights and freedoms, strengthening justice, the rule of law and the rule of law. This mechanism serves to harmonise approaches in the work of courts of SCO member states, improve the efficiency of inter-judicial cooperation and create conditions for deepening judicial reforms.

53. They will enhance cooperation in the forensic field, including information exchange and joint activities.

54. The member states attach importance to cooperation between supreme courts in the field of justice as an effective factor in strengthening mutual trust and friendship, development of good neighbourliness within the SCO.

55. The member states are convinced that corruption in all its manifestations is a threat to national and regional security, leads to a decrease in the efficiency of public administration, negatively affects the international prestige and investment attractiveness of states, and hinders their progressive socio-economic development. They are in favour of further strengthening international cooperation in the field of anti-corruption activities, increasing the authority of the UN and its role in the global anti-corruption fight and support the relevant UN Convention.

56. Member States have supported the establishment of legislative linkages and the sharing of experiences in governance and development.

57. Member States will continue the practice of sending SCO missions to observe presidential, parliamentary elections and referendums.

58. The Member States confirm SCO's openness for accession by interested states whose goals and aspirations meet the criteria and conditions contained in the normative legal documents of the Organization. They took note of the importance of the decision adopted on 17 September 2021 at the Dushanbe Summit to start the procedure for the admission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the SCO membership, in practical implementation of which the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding with a view to acquire the status of an SCO Member State took place on 16 September 2022 in Samarkand.

The Member States stressed the importance of the decision to start the procedure of accepting the Republic of Belarus as a member of the SCO.

59. The Member States note with satisfaction the adoption of decisions granting the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Maldives, the State of Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and the Republic of the Union of Myanmar the status of SCO dialogue partner. They noted the signing of memoranda on granting the status of SCO dialogue partner with the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the State of Qatar.

60. The Member States welcomed the signing of memoranda of understanding by the SCO Secretariat with the General Secretariat of the League of Arab States, UNESCO and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

61. The Member States stressed that the expansion of the SCO and further deepening of cooperation with the SCO Observer States, Dialogue Partners and international associations will expand the potential of the Organisation and further enhance its role in the international arena as a multilateral mechanism for addressing topical contemporary issues, ensuring security, stability and sustainable development in the region.

62. Member States will continue to seek common ground on foreign policy issues of common interest, including in international organizations and international forums.

63. The Member States reaffirm the importance of continuing to improve the architecture of global economic governance and will consistently uphold and strengthen an open, transparent, equitable, inclusive and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system based on the principles and rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO), promote an open global economy, oppose protectionist measures and trade restrictions that are inconsistent with WTO principles, undermine the multilateral trading system They stressed that unilateral application of economic sanctions other than those adopted by the UNSC is inconsistent with the principles of international law and adversely affects third countries and international economic relations.

Member States call for strengthening the effectiveness of WTO as the key forum for discussing the international trade agenda and adopting the rules of the multilateral trading system. They emphasize the need for early and inclusive reform of the organization, focusing on its development and adaptation to modern economic realities, as well as effective implementation of monitoring, negotiation and dispute settlement functions.

64. Member States are in favour of encouraging regional economic cooperation in various forms, promoting an enabling environment for trade and investment with a view to achieving progressive free movement of goods, capital, services and technology.

65. The Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan, while reaffirming support for China's One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, acknowledge the ongoing work to jointly implement the project, including efforts to link the construction of the Eurasian Economic Union and OBOR.

66. The Member States consider it important to utilize the potential of the countries of the region, international organizations and multilateral associations in order to create a space in Eurasia for broad, open, mutually beneficial and equal interaction in accordance with international law and taking into account national interests. In that regard, they noted the idea of establishing a Greater Eurasian Partnership involving the SCO countries, the Eurasian Economic Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and other interested States and multilateral associations.

67. The Member States noted the importance of further deepening cooperation between the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in ensuring security and stability in the region as well as on other issues of mutual interest. In this regard, they expressed support for institutional development of CICA.

68. The member states stressed the need for consistent implementation of the SCO Multilateral Trade and Economic Cooperation Programme and its Action Plan. They stressed that the SCO has developed significant economic and investment potential which contributes to the improvement of trade and economic cooperation. Expansion and deepening of interaction in financial, investment, industrial, transport, energy, agricultural and other fields, including through development and implementation of joint programs and projects, is in the interest of sustainable social and economic development in the SCO region.

Member States decided to establish an Special Working Group on Start-ups and Innovation, Special Working Group on Poverty Reduction and an Expert Working Group on Traditional Medicine.

69. Taking into account the importance of examining and comprehensively analyzing the factors affecting economic cooperation within the SCO, taking into account global and regional processes, and elaborating expert recommendations and proposals for the development of the SCO economic sector, the member states note the importance of continuing the practice of holding meetings of the SCO Consortium of Economic Think Tanks and the SCO Economic Forum.

70. The Member States advocate further deepening people-oriented interaction on improving the well-being and living standards of the population in the SCO region. They noted the results of the first meeting of the heads of SCO ministries and agencies on poverty reduction (Tashkent, 28 January 2022) and the International Conference on Poverty Reduction (Bukhara, 26-27 May 2022).

71. The Member States stressed the impact of COVID-19 on the dynamics of economic growth processes in the SCO region. In this regard, they consider it important to continue coordinating efforts to overcome the negative socio-economic consequences of the pandemic, including further implementation of the SCO member states' Joint Recommendatory Action Plan 2021-2023 (Dushanbe, September 17, 2021).

72. The Member States, noting the importance of e-commerce for the development of economic cooperation to increase employment and prosperity, instructed the Council of Heads of Government of SCO member states to take measures to improve the efficiency of cooperation in this area within the framework of the Meeting of Ministers responsible for foreign economic and foreign trade activities and the relevant Special Working Group.

73. The Member States advocate strengthening the potential of technoparks, joining efforts to develop the innovation ecosystem, conducting joint research and development, launching new digital projects in the SCO region, paying special attention to the implementation of the Concept on the creation of the SCO Member States Technoparks Pool of 2021.

74. The Member States noted that the creative economy could become one of the components of developing the SCO's innovative potential. They believe that support for creative industries will contribute to enhancing the competitiveness of SCO economies.

75. The Member States will continue to strengthen inter-regional cooperation by implementing the Inter-regional Cooperation Development Program, holding and further expanding the format of the SCO Heads of Regions Forum, including through the use by interested states of the SCO China Regional Trade and Economic Cooperation Demonstration Zone in Qingdao.

In order to strengthen cooperation and develop the services sector and trade in services within the SCO, to enhance regional and global competitiveness, interested Member States approved the Framework for Cooperation in Trade in Services and the Joint Action Plan to Develop Intra-regional Trade in the SCO Region.

76. The Member States will further develop the potential of the SCO Business Council and SCO Interbank Association, promote joint initiatives of business communities to intensify cooperation in order to implement projects in the field of finance, high technology, transport and communications infrastructure, energy, investment, small and medium businesses in the SCO region.

77. The Member States stressed the need to provide financial support for project activities in order to unlock the full investment potential of the Organization and, in this regard, to continue consultations on the establishment of the SCO Development Bank and the SCO Development Fund (Special Account).

They noted the adoption by the interested SCO member states of the Road Map on Increasing the Share of National Currencies in Mutual Settlements and called for expansion of this practice.

78. The Member States will continue to cooperate in digital economy and support the development of digital technologies. They noted the results of the first meeting of the heads of ministries and agencies of the SCO Member States responsible for the development of information technologies (Tashkent, November 25, 2021) and the adoption of an Action Plan to implement the Concept of cooperation of the SCO member states in the field of digitalization and information and communication technologies.

79. In order to promote economic growth in the SCO Member states by creating an efficient and competitive transport and technological infrastructure, the Programme for Infrastructure Development of the SCO Member States was adopted.

Member States underline the importance of further deepening cooperation in transport sector, including the creation of new and modernization of existing international routes for road and rail transport, multimodal transport corridors and logistics centres, trade and tourism, introduction of digital, innovative and energy- saving technologies, optimization of cross-border procedures in accordance with international best practices and implementation of other joint infrastructure projects that ensure efficient.

80. The heads of delegations noted the outcome of the ninth meeting of SCO transport ministers (12 May 2022, Khiva). In order to develop transit potential in the SCO region, the heads of state approved the Concept of cooperation of the SCO Member States to develop interconnectivity and create efficient transport corridors.

Approaches to accelerate economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, further deepen regional economic cooperation and unlock international production and supply chains are captured in the Statement on Resilient, Reliable and Diversified Supply Chains adopted in the format of interested Member States.

81. They note the importance of consistent implementation of the Agreement between the Governments of the SCO Member States on Facilitation of International Road Transport (Dushanbe, 12 September 2014) and regular meetings of the Joint Commission on Facilitation of International Road Transport.

82. Member States will continue to develop cooperation between railway administrations based on the SCO Member States Railway Administration (Railway) Cooperation Concept of 2 November 2019.

83. Member States advocate the further development of modern logistics centres and joint action to coordinate and facilitate the interconnection of railway infrastructure, docking policies and regulations, scientific and technological innovation and capacity-building, exploring concrete measures to increase international intermodal container trains and further promote safe, stable and quality railway transport development.

84. The Member States noted the proposal of the Republic of Uzbekistan to establish in Central Asia under the aegis of the UN the Regional Center for Development of Transport and Communication Connectivity, as well as the proposal of the Republic of Kazakhstan to establish the UN Center on Sustainable Development Goals for Central Asia and Afghanistan.

85. The Member States stressed the need for further development of industrial cooperation and industrial cooperation within the SCO. They noted the outcome of the Second Meeting of the SCO Ministers of Industry (Tashkent, July 15, 2022), as well as the signing of the Program to promote industrial cooperation among the business communities of the SCO member states and the opening of the Uzbekistan-SCO Industrial Zone.

86. The Member States noted the outcome of the Meeting of the Energy Ministers of the SCO Member States (24 June 2022, Tashkent). They will continue to deepen cooperation between the SCO countries in the field of energy through practical implementation of the Concept of Energy Cooperation of the SCO Member States (12 August 2021, Dushanbe).

Member States stress the need to increase mutually beneficial cooperation in the energy sector, including efficient use of all types of energy resources, and support the application of various efficient economically and environmentally friendly technologies that reduce negative environmental impact and promote energy security and the transition to cleaner and greener energy sources in an energy efficient economy. They note the importance of jointly exploring ways to expand regional electricity interconnectivity in the SCO member states.

87. To this end, the Member States welcomed the adoption of the Programme of Cooperation of the SCO Member States in the Use of Renewable Energy Sources.

88. Member States stressed the commitment to build a sustainable economic system, including through the promotion of green and environmentally friendly technologies, as well as inclusive approaches to social development through the implementation of the SCO Green Belt Program (17 September 2021, Dushanbe).

89. Member States note the importance of cooperation in the fields of environmental protection, environmental security, mitigation of the adverse effects of climate change, biodiversity conservation and use, and the exchange of experience and operational information on these matters. They recognize that lack of access to safe drinking water, basic sanitation and healthy hygiene are major challenges of our time and note the need to focus on sustainable development and water management.

Member States are convinced that the climate agenda should not be used to introduce measures restricting trade and investment cooperation. Efforts will be made to establish an active dialogue with relevant international institutions in order to attract investment and finance joint projects and programs in the field of environmental protection and introduction of new environmentally friendly technologies, increasing the share of "green" economy.

90. Member States, taking into account a number of challenges facing the development of agriculture within the production cycle, advocate the introduction of modern technologies, active cooperation in the field of food security, prevention and control of transboundary epizootic diseases. In this connection they will continue practical implementation of the Joint Statement of the SCO Heads of State Council on Food Security (17 September 2021, Dushanbe) and note the approval of the Concept of cooperation of the SCO member states in the field of smart agriculture and agro-innovations and signing of the Agreement between the authorized bodies of the SCO member states on cooperation in the field of plant quarantine.

The interested Member States note the expediency of using the site of the SCO Demonstration Base in Yanglin (PRC) for exchange and training in modern agricultural technologies.

91. Member States will continue to strengthen cooperation in the cultural, scientific, technical, educational, humanitarian and tourism spheres in order to further promote dialogue among civilizations and good-neighbourly and friendly relations in the SCO region. They will promote the enhancement of cultural diversity, cooperate in research and protection of the region's cultural and natural heritage.

92. Member States noted the outcome of the Seventh Meeting of the Heads of Sanitary and Epidemiological Services of the SCO Member States (9 December 2021, St. Petersburg). They consider it necessary to ensure the implementation of the SCO Comprehensive Plan of Joint Action to Address Epidemic Threats in the Region (10 November 2020).

93. Member States, while speaking out against the stigma attached to a new coronavirus infection, stressed the need to further strengthen international cooperation in combating its spread as well as in dealing with the global political and socio-economic consequences of the pandemic.

94. The SCO Member States note the need for joint efforts to build cooperation in the digitalization of health and consider the potential of telemedicine as part of the national strategies of the SCO member States to maintain and improve the health of their citizens. In this regard, they noted the adoption of the Concept of Cooperation of SCO Member States in the field of telemedicine.

95. Member States will continue to coordinate responses to public health emergencies of international importance, deepen scientific and technical cooperation in the development of drugs, vaccines and test systems, including on the basis of the Roadmap for cooperation between medical organisations of SCO member states in prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.

96. Member States noted the initiative of the Russian Federation to hold regular exercises by interested SCO Member States to identify and respond to sanitary and epidemiological emergencies, including through the use of mobile laboratories.

97. Member States support the leading role of the World Health Organization (WHO) in global health governance, including in protecting public health from threats of infectious disease epidemics in accordance with the WHO International Health Regulations (2005).

98. The SCO Member States, stressing the importance of further implementation of the Agreement between the governments of the SCO member states on cooperation in disaster management assistance (signed on October 26 2005 in Moscow), confirmed their willingness to step up joint efforts in this field. They will continue to strengthen interaction in such areas as exchange of operational information, training of personnel, holding of joint disaster and accident management exercises as well as promote cooperation in the field of disaster management in the border regions. The Member States will develop cooperation with the UN, other international and regional organizations in these areas.

99. The Member States note the importance of further strengthening cooperation in education within the SCO, expanding inter-university cooperation, holding forums of rectors, scientific conferences and symposia, and developing the activities of the SCO University. Seeking to expand cooperation in the field of digital learning in view of the trends of the world economy in the era of digital globalization, the member states noted the adoption of the SCO Digital Literacy Programme.

100. The Member States note the importance of further development of scientific and technological cooperation in the SCO space, express their willingness to conduct joint scientific research, exchange of experience between scientists and scientific organizations within the SCO to find new sources of economic growth and solutions to overcome common social challenges. In this connection they stress the need to implement in practice the Statement of the Council of SCO Heads of State on strengthening cooperation in the field of science, technology and innovation (September 17, 2021, Dushanbe).

101. The Member States advocate enhancing cooperation on youth on the basis of implementation of the provisions of the 2018 SCO Heads of State's Joint Address to Youth and Programme of Action for its implementation, and the 2021 Agreement between the competent authorities of the SCO member states on cooperation in the field of youth work. They positively assessed the results of the meeting of the SCO Youth Council (Tashkent, 10 June 2022). They noted the importance of holding intellectual games-contests "Model SCO" for schoolchildren and students, holding start-up forums and competitions on innovations and start-ups among youth, conclaves of young scientists of volunteer movement development, as well as implementation of the "International SCO Youth Business Incubator" project under the SCO Youth Council.

102. Member States, noting the importance of actively supporting women's participation in political, economic, public, social and other spheres of activity, welcomed the SCO Women's Forum and SCO Women Entrepreneurs' Conference to be held in Samarkand on 17-18 August 2022.

103. In order to further strengthen mutual understanding and friendship the Member States consider it important to effectively implement the intergovernmental Agreement on Cooperation in Culture dated August 16, 2007 (Bishkek), including in the field of literature, including translation of classical works, cinematography, music, theatre and fine arts, museum work, exhibitions and other creative activities. In this context they noted the outcome of the Meeting of the SCO Ministers of Culture (May 19, 2022, Tashkent), the signature of the Memorandum between the authorised agencies of the SCO member states on cooperation in the field of museums and the initiative to create the Alliance of Museums of the SCO Member States.

104. Stressing the importance of further development of cooperation in the field of tourism, the SCO member states noted the results of the Meeting of the Heads of Tourism Administrations of the SCO Member States (19 May 2022, Tashkent), the signing of the Agreement between the governments of the SCO member states on cooperation in tourism, and also the holding of the Exhibition "Eight Wonders of the SCO" and the SCO Tourism Forum (19-20 May 2022, Tashkent).

105. In order to further promote the rich cultural and historical heritage of the peoples and tourism potential of the SCO member states, it was decided to declare the city of Varanasi (Republic of India) as the SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital for 2022-2023.

106. Member States stressed that the celebration of the SCO Year of Culture in 2021 was an example of respectful treatment of national traditions and mutual enrichment of cultures in the territory of the Organisation.

In order to support the tourism industry and enhance the tourism attractiveness of the SCO cities and regions, the member states agreed to declare 2023 the SCO Tourism Year.

107. The Member States highly appreciate the contribution of public diplomacy institutions and cultural centres in the SCO Member States in building mutual trust, strengthening mutual understanding and expanding cultural and humanitarian ties within the Organisation. They noted the outcome of the SCO Public Diplomacy Forum (May 11, 2022, Tashkent), and also the work of the SCO Committee on Good Neighbourhood, Friendship and Cooperation, the SCO Cultural Integration Centre in Bishkek, the SCO Friendship and Cooperation Centre in Dushanbe and the SCO Public Diplomacy Centre in Tashkent.

108. The Member States consider it necessary to develop contacts in the media, press services of the authorities and digital space, including through the implementation of the Agreement between the governments of the SCO member states on cooperation in the media sphere (14 June 2019, Bishkek).

109. The Member States, noting the importance of promoting the goals, objectives, principles and key activities of the SCO among the general public in the region and around the world, approved the Statute on the honorary title of SCO Goodwill Ambassador.

110. The Member States, recognizing the role of sport as an important tool for peace, social inclusion and sustainable development, confirm their willingness to enhance cooperation in this field based on the principles of Olympism.

111. The Member States welcome the first Meeting of heads of relevant ministries and agencies responsible for the development of physical culture and sports of the SCO member states to be held on 20 May 2022 in Tashkent. They expect that the Meeting will become a platform for the coordination of cooperation of the SCO member states in the sphere of physical culture and sports, as well as the formation of promising areas of cooperation in this sphere.

112. The SCO member states noted the holding of SCO Kunming and Issyk- Kul Marathons (on 12 December 2021 and 14 May 2022), Dushanbe Half Marathon (13 June 2021) and Tashkent Half Marathon (27 March 2022) and expressed their support for holding such events on a regular basis, stressing their contribution to deepening friendship and mutual understanding between the peoples of SCO member states, and also to positioning the organisation on the international scene.

113. In view of the importance of preserving the ecological balance in the SCO region and restoring biodiversity, ensuring favourable conditions for the well- being of people and sustainable development, the SCO member states emphasise the need to implement in practice the Action Plan to Implement the 2022-2024 Concept of Cooperation among the SCO Member States in the Field of Environmental Protection.

114. The Member States, supporting the proposal of the Republic of Tajikistan to declare 2025 as the International Year for the Preservation of Glaciers, note the initiative to establish an International Fund for the Protection of Glaciers through the adoption of a UN General Assembly Resolution.

115. The SCO member states noted the adoption, at the initiative of the Kyrgyz Republic, of the resolution of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly "Nature knows no borders: transboundary cooperation as a key factor for the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of biodiversity" and of the 41st session of the UNESCO General Conference "Enhanced monitoring and research on mountain glaciers".

At the initiative of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Member States noted the adoption of the Resolution of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly on strengthening the interconnectedness of Central and South Asia.

116. Member States noted initiatives to adopt UN General Assembly resolutions declaring an "International Day for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education" and a "Decade of Action for Mountain Development" in 2023-2027 (Kyrgyz Republic) as well as an "International Year of Mobilizing Volunteers for Development" (Republic of Kazakhstan).

Member States noted the outcome of the 2nd High Level International Conference on the International Decade for Action, Water for Sustainable Development, 2018-2028 (Dushanbe, 6-9 June 2022).

117. Member States underlined the importance of further development of interaction with UN, with interested states and structures in solving the problem of Aral Sea associated with the drying of its basin on large-scale. They noted the adoption of the UN General Assembly resolution on declaring the Aral Sea region as a zone of ecological technologies and innovations (18 May 2021) as well as its initiative on launching the Multi-partner Trust Fund for Human Security in the Aral Sea region taking into account the parties' positions.

118. As a responsible and influential player in international efforts to ensure peace and stable development of Eurasia, SCO will continue to take coordinated steps to counter the growing threats and challenges in the region.

119. The member States, reaffirming their commitment to peace, joint development and equal relations based on the principles of mutual respect, friendship and good-neighbourliness, will continue to conduct a constructive and trusting dialogue, deepen effective multifaceted cooperation and make every effort to strengthen security and stability and ensure sustainable development in the SCO region.

120. The Member States commend the outcomes of the Republic of Uzbekistan's presidency of the SCO in 2021-2022, which have contributed to the further development of multifaceted mutually beneficial cooperation. They welcome the "Samarkand Solidarity Initiative for Common Security and Prosperity" put forward by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, aimed at ensuring peace and stability, wider international cooperation and promoting sustainable human development.

121. The presidency of the SCO for the forthcoming period passes to the Republic of India. The next meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State will be held in 2023 in the Republic of India.


September 16, 2022


(DISCLAIMER - This is the approximate translation of Samarkand Declaration. Original Declaration is in Russian language)

Saturday, September 17, 2022

The origins of covid-19: An appeal for an objective, open, and transparent scientific debate about the origin of SARS-CoV-2

    Saturday, September 17, 2022   No comments

The scientific community is now unconvinced of the natural path of covid19 (from nature to human) and, for the first time, signal that that a research path is a possibility. This shift brings to focus the danger of biological and chemical weapons that many states continue to engage in.

This scientific shift was amplified recently by a new report from the prestigious British scientific journal, The Lancet. Here is quote from the report bout this significant development:


A research-related origin is plausible. Two questions need to be addressed: virus evolution and introduction into the human population. Since July, 2020, several peer-reviewed scientific papers have discussed the likelihood of a research-related origin of the virus. Some unusual features of the SARS-CoV-2 genome sequence suggest that they may have resulted from genetic engineering,  an approach widely used in some virology labs. Alternatively, adaptation to humans might result from undirected laboratory selection during serial passage in cell cultures or laboratory animals,   including humanised mice. Mice genetically modified to display the human receptor for entry of SARS-CoV-2 (ACE2) were used in research projects funded before the pandemic, to test the infectivity of different virus strains. Laboratory research also includes more targeted approaches such as gain-of-function experiments relying on chimeric viruses to test their potential to cross species barriers. 
A research-related contamination could result from contact with a natural virus during field collection, transportation from the field to a laboratory, characterisation of bats and bat viruses in a laboratory, or from a non-natural virus modified in a laboratory. There are well-documented cases of pathogen escapes from laboratories.    Field collection, field survey, and in-laboratory research on potential pandemic pathogens require high-safety protections and a strong and transparent safety culture. However, experiments on SARS-related coronaviruses are routinely performed at biosafety level 2,  which complies with the recommendations for viruses infecting non-human animals, but is inappropriate for experiments that might produce human-adapted viruses by effects of selection or oriented mutations.
Overwhelming evidence for either a zoonotic or research-related origin is lacking: the jury is still out. On the basis of the current scientific literature, complemented by our own analyses of coronavirus genomes and proteins,      we hold that there is currently no compelling evidence to choose between a natural origin (ie, a virus that has evolved and been transmitted to humans solely via contact with wild or farmed animals) and a research-related origin (which might have occurred at sampling sites, during transportation or within the laboratory, and might have involved natural, selected, or engineered viruses).

 Read more from the source... An appeal for an objective, open, and transparent scientific debate about the origin of SARS-CoV-2



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