Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues and friends. It is a great pleasure to see you all and welcome you to Moscow.
I know that your work essentially concludes the major preparations that have gone into getting ready for the SCO Summit in Ufa in July. I hope that you will settle the matters that you were working on through your ministries and other agencies and submit the decisions for the heads of states' consideration and approval. Today's Council of Foreign Ministers Meeting is a key moment in preparing for the summit.
Our organisation is developing successfully and, apart from the current member states, our partners in 12 different countries have shown an interest in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation's work. We agreed that we would examine the possibility of India and Pakistan's accession to the organisation. Other countries also seek more solid ties with our organisation. This is understandable, because the SCO is gaining greater weight and importance all the time, as it addresses the issues of greatest priority for our countries and for the region as a whole.
These issues include security, the fight against terrorism, drug trafficking and organised crime, and, of course, issues related to our countries' economic development. In this respect, I want to say again that we are working actively on convergence between two big projects - the Silk Road Economic Belt, and the Eurasian Economic Union. We are building the links between these projects and Russia's plans to develop transport infrastructure in the east of our country. We have discussed these matters on many occasions with the SCO heads of state, and we are certain that this cooperation is in full keeping with our mutual interests. I hope for your help too and for your support as we prepare for these events.
I am very happy to see you. Welcome!