Afghan issue remains central regional security problem — SCO head

The question of peaceful settlement in Afghanistan remains a central problem of regional security, Secretary General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Dmitry Mezentsev said at a regular meeting of the SCO Press Club on Tuesday.

The question of peaceful settlement in Afghanistan remains a central problem of regional security, Secretary General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Dmitry Mezentsev said at a regular meeting of the SCO Press Club on Tuesday.

"The leaders of the SCO member countries made a decision in Beijing in 2012 to grant the organization’s observer status to Afghanistan omitting the partner status. This is an important sign that the [SCO] founding countries understand the major importance of a peaceful settlement in Afghanistan for the whole region," he said.

"Most importantly, it is necessary to drop the simplistic and linear approach to the Afghan problem," Mezentsev said. According to him, economic revival of the country and the fight against drug trafficking are among the possible spheres of cooperation on this issue. "The real assistance to economic recovery, more energetic efforts to eradicate the production of drugs and their components — are also an important factor of assistance to Afghanistan. In this regard, we attach great importance to the organisation’s anti-drug strategy," said the SCO secretary general.

In addition, Mezentsev said that a meeting of the Security Council secretaries of SCO member states would be held in April 2015 to which Security Council secretaries of the observer countries will be invited for the first time. The heads of the SCO members’ drug control services will also hold a meeting.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization was established in 2001. To date, SCO brings together Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The observer status in SCO has been granted to Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan.

First published by TASS.

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

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