SCO summit concludes with calls for enhanced co-op

Updated: 2009-06-17 09:49

YEKATERINBURG, Russia -- Leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) concluded their annual summit on Tuesday with calls for constructive dialogues and enhanced cooperation to tackle regional and international issues.

The leaders exchanged views in depth on a wide range of regional and international issues, according to a joint communique released after the summit.

The leaders of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member countries, observer nations, and the leader of Afghanistan, a guest country of the SCO, hold a meeting in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on June 16, 2009. Chinese President Hu Jintao attended the meeting. [Xinhua]

The summit was attended by heads of state of SCO member countries -- China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and leaders of SCO observer nations -- Mongolia, India, Pakistan and Iran.

Also present at the meeting were Hamid Karzai, president of Afghanistan, a guest country of the SCO, and representatives of the United Nations and some other regional and international organizations.

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It was the first time that leaders from observer states were included in a restricted meeting of the SCO Heads of State Council.

The leaders called for the establishment of a more just and rational system of inter-governmental relations, and set priorities for future cooperation, the document said.

In a declaration adopted following the summit, the leaders said that regional cooperation is playing an increasingly important role in solving international issues.

Constructive dialogues and enhanced cooperation are effective ways to seek solutions to regional and international issues, such as security threats, the global financial crisis, food security and climate change, it said.

The leaders also called for enhanced supervision of financial institutions and more international cooperation, so as to prevent the further spread of the financial crisis.

The leaders of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states and observer nations have a group photo taken with the leader of Afghanistan, a guest country of the SCO, in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on June 16, 2009. [Xinhua]

The member countries will strengthen cooperation within the framework of the SCO, and make concerted efforts with the rest of the international community to build a more fair and rational international financial system, the document said.

Besides the declaration, the leaders also signed several other documents, including a convention against terrorism and agreements on training anti-terrorist forces of SCO members and cooperation on international information security.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said active participation in the cooperation within the SCO framework remains one of Russia's diplomatic priorities.

The president called for further strengthening of mutual trust and understanding between the SCO members to effectively tackle the current threats and challenges.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said the central Asia region still faces grave security threats and the SCO members should enhance cooperation in anti-drugs and anti-terrorism cooperation.

The SCO should also expand transport infrastructure development, and pay more attention to food safety and environmental problems, he said.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, having postponed his visit by a day, arrived at Yekaterinburg earlier on Tuesday to attend the summit. He delayed his trip to Russia in light of the political situation in Iran, news reports said.

Also on Tuesday, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is in Yekaterinbug for the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) summit, held a bilateral meeting with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, the first since the devastating attacks in Mumbai last November.

"I am glad to meet with you, but my mandate is to declare that Pakistan's territory must not be used by terrorists," Singh said when shaking hands with Zardari.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi described the meeting as "positive."

"I deem positive the fact that the two leaders are meeting in the corridors of the summit for the first time since the tragic Mumbai incident occurred," he said.

The top diplomat declined to specify when talks could be resumed between Delhi and Islamabad, saying "I cannot run too fast," as quoted by the Interfax news agency.

More than 170 people, including foreign nationals, were killed and hundreds injured in the Mumbai terror attacks on Nov. 26 last year.

India has been calling on Pakistan to take action against those responsible for carrying out the attacks, and has refused to resume dialogue with Pakistan until Islamabad brings the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to justice.

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