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Vladimir Putin to attend SCO summit in Bishkek

September 13, 2013, 4:17 UTC+3

Resolution of the conflict in Syria would be one of the central topics

1 pages in this article
Photo ITAR-TASS / Valery Sharifulin

Photo ITAR-TASS / Valery Sharifulin

MOSCOW, September 13 (Itar-Tass) - President Vladimir Putin will attend a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, on Friday, September 13.

Presidential aide Yuri Ushakov told the journalists on Thursday, September 12, that the resolution of the conflict in Syria would be one of the central topics at the summit.

The forum will open with a meeting in narrow format, which will focus on pressing issues of multifaceted cooperation within the SCO as well as the situation in the region and the world.

It will be followed by a plenary meeting where the participants will discuss ways to step up joint efforts towards stronger stability and security in the SCO region.

The leaders of all member states have confirmed their participation. Afghanistan, Iran and Mongolia will attend as observers. Their leaders will have the chance to “outline their positions on certain geopolitical issues,” Sapar Isakov, head of the department of foreign policy in the office of the Kyrgyz President, said.

Officials from several international organisations such as the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) and the Collective Security Treaty Organisation will attend the summit as well.

“Security in the region is the number one issue to be discussed at the SCO summit,” he said, adding that much attention would also be paid to major economic, especially infrastructure, projects.

According to Isakov, there are several economic areas where the SCO countries could successfully cooperate on a mutually advantageous basis. These are “projects concerning the construction of infrastructure facilities, optical fiber lines and telecom industry, as well as new roads and railway lines to link the participating countries.”

The summiteers will adopt the Bishkek Decralation, which will reaffirm their commitment to further development of socioeconomic and humanitarian cooperation. They will also approve an action plan for 2013-2017 to implement the main provisions of the Treaty on Long-Term Good-Neighbourliness, Friendship and Cooperation in 2013-2017. The treaty has passed national procedures in each of the SCO member states, it has been ratified by the national parliaments and it has acquired the status of law.

Several other documents are to be signed as well.

Apart from Syria, the SCO leaders will also discuss the Iranian nuclear programme and ways to enhance cooperation in the fight against terrorism and illegal drug trafficking.

Economic cooperation, including specific projects, is among the priority topics to be raised at the summit. “Special attention will be paid to financial issues. The agenda includes the Russian proposal to establish a SCO Development Fund and the Chinese initiative to create a SCO Development Bank,” Ushakov said.

Transport and energy cooperation is another key issue. SCO countries are finalising a draft agreement on favourable conditions for international road haulage and a memorandum of understanding among the SCO member states, observer nations and dialogue partners on the creation of an Energy Club.

Ushakov did not rule out that the enlargement of the SCO might be discussed at the summit. “This issue is always raised. This is why the number of observer countries is growing,” he said.

However, Sapar Isakov, head of the department of foreign policy in the office of the Kyrgyz President, said that no new admissions would be discussed at the summit even though some countries “have expressed such wish.” But the decision depends on each of the member states. “It is impossible to say anything definite at this point. At any rate, this has to be decided on the basis of consensus,” he said.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is an intergovernmental international organisation founded in Shanghai on June 15, 2001 by six countries: China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Its member states cover an area of over 30 million square kilometres, or about three-fifths of Eurasia, with a population of 1.455 billion, about a quarter of the world's total. Its working languages are Chinese and Russian.

Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia, and Pakistan have the status of observer. In 2012, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Bangladesh, Belarus, and Sri Lanka filed applications for the status of observer. Belarus, Sri Lanka, and Turkey are also dialogue partners.

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