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MOSCOW, June 4. /TASS/. Foreign Ministers of member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and high representatives of member countries, observer and dialogue partner countries will take part in a high-level conference entitled "Security and Stability in the SCO Region" opening here on Thursday.
The forum will be chaired by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Key attention will be focused on "tendencies in the development of the regional situation in the context of aggravating challenges and threats to stability and security," the Russian foreign ministry said. Participants will discuss measures to enhance cooperation within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to rebuff terrorist movements, first of all, the Islamic State group, fight against extremist organizations, drug trafficking and organized crime.
The Russian foreign minister is expected to meet on the sidelines of the conference with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. Later, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will join the talks.
On Wednesday, Lavrov chaired a meeting of the Council of SCO Foreign Ministers. Heads of the delegations were received by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
After the meeting, Lavrov told a news conference this meeting had opened "the most significant stage of Russian presidency in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization - preparations for a summit in Ufa on July 9-10, 2015."
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a regional international association that was set up on June 15, 2001 in Shanghai, China. Its top priority areas of activities are joint anti-terrorism and anti-extremism efforts, cooperation in the energy, oil and gas, transport, telecommunications and other sectors.
Currently, members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization are Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Mongolia, India, Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan enjoy the observer status. Belarus, Sri Lanka and Turkey have a status of a dialogue partner. India and Pakistan applied for a full-fledged membership at the SCo summit in Dushanbe in 2014.
Aggregate population of the SCO member countries stands at 1.597 billion (a fourth of the entire global population). Aggregate GDP is 11.6 trillion U.S. dollars.