circulating information about the customs and traditions of SCO member countries’ peoples. The Ministers approved the draft Astana Declaration of the SCO Heads of State and a communique on the results of the meeting of the SCQ Heads of State Council reflecting the organization’s short-term approaches and goals. The ministers believe that the involvement of the SCO and its member-states in the EXPO-2017 International Specialized Exhibition whose main theme is “Energy of the Future” to be hosted by Astana will provide a new impetus to multilateral and bilateral cooperation, and that it will also help strengthen the SCO’s image and prestige on the international scene. They approved a report on the work of the SCQ Secretariat in 2016, approved a draft report on the SCO’s performance in 2016 and heard information about the activities of the SCO’s Regional Anti Terrorist Structure. The ministers also adopted decisions on a number of issues regarding the organization’s current activities and the upcoming meeting of the SCQ Heads of State Council in Astana. The ministers praised the work of Kazakhstan, now presiding in the SCO, including its efforts to prepare the meeting of the SCO Heads of State Council in Astana. The meeting took place in the spirit of friendship and mutual understanding, traditional features of relations between SCQ member-states. In execution of the Tashkent Summit’s decisions, the ministers submitted draft decisions on completing the procedure to admit India and Pakistan into the SCO and to recognize their status as full-fledged SCO member-states to the SCQ Heads of State Council for consideration. They stressed that the admission of new SCQ member-states and the expansion of cooperation with observer states and dialogue partners was important for expanding and enhancing the organization’s potential. The ministers called for further expanding cooperation between SCO member-states to counter today’s security challenges and risks, primarily in the fight against terrorism, separatism, extremism, trans border organized crime and illegal drug trafficking, and efforts to strengthen international information security and emergency response.