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Putin arrives in Kyrgyzstan for SCO summit

September 13, 2013, 5:02 UTC+3

The forum will open with a meeting in narrow format, which will focus on pressing issues of multifaceted cooperation

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BISHKEK, September 13 (Itar-Tass) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, to attend a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation to start here on Friday, September 13.

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.

Putin will also hold a series of bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the summit. He will meet with Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. This will be his first meeting with the president of Iran who assumed office last month.

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