ALMATY -- The Tajik foreign minister has told Chinese media that economy and security are the two crucial pillars of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
During a recent interview, Foreign Minister Hamrohon Zarifi said whether or not the SCO's security and stability can be maintained is largely dependent on its member states' economic sustainability.
The "three evil forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism, and illegal drug trafficking pose grave threats to the security and stability of the SCO member states, Zarifi said.
The SCO's regional anti-terrorism structure, established in 2004, is playing an increasingly important role, the minister said days before the SCO summit slated for June 15-16 in Yekaterinburg, Russia.
The structure not only effectively promotes security cooperation and joint anti-terrorist operations amongst the SCO members, it also provides them with intelligence support to fight the "three evil forces," he said.
Zarifi said the SCO also carries out joint anti-terrorism military exercises on a regular basis to help enhance the member states's capability of coordination in anti-terror efforts.
Zarifi said the SCO, which groups China, Russia,and the Central Asian nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, could play an even bigger role in the war against trans-border drug trafficking.
The SCO also has four observers of Mongolia, India, Pakistan and Iran.
Tajikistan, Zarifi said, is at the forefront of international efforts to combat drugs. The country last year seized more than 6 tons of drug in various forms.
Zarifi said Tajikistan suggested that the SCO set up an anti-drug center in Dushanbe, Tajikistan's capital, to coordinate member states'efforts to crack down on illegal drug trafficking.
Zarifi also hailed plans for the implementation of the SCO multilateral trade and economic cooperation program approved in October 2008, and a rapid development of economic cooperation within the alliance.
He said that energy, transportation and information and communication technologies are the key areas of cooperation that draw most of the SCO members' interests.
Tajikistan, as one of the founding members, will continue to strengthen friendly cooperation within the group and is willing to contribute to the long-term development of the organization, he said.
Zarifi described China as a friendly neighbor and reliable partner, noting China has played a key role in the formation and rapid development of the SCO.
China's efforts are of great significance in strengthening regional cooperation under the SCO framework, he said.
Among other topics, the ninth SCO annual summit is expected to discuss measures dealing with the current economic downturn worldwide.