Mutual economic ties

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev has urged to boost the SCO's clout in developing mutual economic ties in the region. The leaders of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan inked on Thursday an array of documents at a SCO summit, including the Dushanbe Declaration.

"The leaders of the SCO member states welcome the 12 August signing in Moscow of the six principles for settling the South Ossetian conflict", the Declaration says. Speaking at the summit in the Tajik capital Dushanbe on Thursday, the Russian leader stressed that the SCO was set up in a bid to first of all coordinate efforts on boosting regional security.

This tremendous task still remains topical in modern-day world, President Medvedev points out, adding that it should only be implemented on the basis of adherence to international law norms and renunciation of the confrontation thinking.

The SCO has never assumed a mission of becoming a counterbalance to NATO, Dmitry Medvedev says. Unlike NATO, internationally known to be a military alliance, he adds, the SCO mainly focuses on promoting not only security but a wide range of other outstanding issues as well. The SCO steadily increases its regional clout by hammering out both effective recommendations and real decisions, the Russian president indicates.

The SCO has evolved into a serious regional organization attractive to many countries that now want to join in, Medvedev said.

The SCO leaders expressed satisfaction with their growing interaction in the war on terror separatism and extremism. They still want to raise their security cooperation to a qualitatively new level using for this purpose their own regional antiterrorism agency. The SCO leaders underscored the importance of discussing more efficient and rational use of the region's water and energy resources, agreeing a common approach to tacking the negative impact of global warming and develop nature-friendly methods of power generation. They also mentioned Central Asia's consistently growing geopolitical and economic role and said that the SCO's further development would help strengthen strategic stability, peace and security.

The declaration approved by the Dushanbe summit points up the serious threat posed by continuing instability, including in Afghanistan, the ever-growing drug traffic and trans-border organized crime. The summit endorsed a Russian proposal to hold a conference on Afghain8istan under the SCO aegis. The SCO leaders also said the creation of a nuclear-free zone in central Asia was a major shortcut to solidifying the nuclear nonproliferation regime.

RBTH dossier
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (ШОС, SCO) is an intergovernmental mutual-security organization which was founded in 2001 by the leaders of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Previously it was named Shanghai Five (founded in 1996), but after the inclusion of Uzbekistan in 2001, the members renamed the organization.

SCO countries (full members and observers) comprise a hefty 25% of Earth's land area. Although the declaration on the establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation contained a statement that it "is not an alliance directed against other states and regions and it adheres to the principle of openness", many observers believe that one of the original purposes of the SCO was to serve as a counterbalance to NATO and the United States and in particular to avoid conflicts that would allow the United States to intervene in areas near both Russia and China.

The United States applied for observer status in the SCO, but was rejected in 2005.

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