Hu: SCO future hinges on action
ASTANA, Kazakhstan -- The future of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) depends on whether members could translate consensus into action and render plans into reality, Chinese President Hu Jintao said here Tuesday.
The SCO, founded in Shanghai in June 2001, groups China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Mongolia became an observer in 2004. India, Iran and Pakistan were accepted as observers at the current summit.
The development of the SCO has entered an important stage and members should strive to translate the organization's cooperation potential into actual results and adequately cope with challenges brought by complex international and regional changes, the Chinese president said.
Hu listed security, economic and human resources cooperation as primary tasks facing the organization.
"Without stability, there can be no talk of any development," Hu said, urging member countries and the whole region to promote the implementation of documents and agreements on fighting extremism, separatism and terrorism, and conduct effective information exchange and step up research on the establishment of emergency mechanisms.
On economic cooperation, Hu asked for more efforts to implement a multilateral economic cooperation plan and work for the early establishment of a banking union. He also asked to explore bilateral and multilateral cooperation modes that involve both governments and enterprises.
Hu urged contacts and cooperation between the SCO and international financial institutions to facilitate deeper economic cooperation.
Hu said China has decided to offer even more preferential terms for the 900-million-US dollar buyer's export credit it promised to other SCO members at the Tashkent summit last year.
On human resources cooperation, the Chinese president urged members to boost collaboration in culture, disaster relief, education, tourism and media.
He said China would set aside a special fund for the training of 1,500 people from other SCO member countries within the next three years.
Hu said Central Asia, with its unique strategic location and cultural heritage, plays an increasingly important role in world affairs and that recent developments in the region have aroused concern in the international community.
"Central Asian countries are the masters of the affairs of the countries and the region," Hu said. "People of all Central Asian countries are entitled to independently choosing the roads of development that conform to the actual conditions of each of the countries, and they have the wisdom and capability to adequately handle their internal affairs and regional affairs."
He urged all parties concerned in Central Asia to handle relations among them with a constructive and cooperative attitude.
"We hope that the Central Asian region incessantly deepen and develop bilateral and multilateral cooperation of various forms so as to jointly face challenges, boost regional development, maintain regional stability and achieve common prosperity," Hu said.
A SCO declaration issued Tuesday at the end of the summit said the leaders of SCO member states pledged their continued support for the international coalition's anti-terrorism operations in Afghanistan.
However, as large-scale military operations against terrorism have come to an end in Afghanistan, the leaders said, it is necessary for parties to the coalition to set a deadline for the temporary use of SCO member states' infrastructure facilities and for their military presence in these countries.