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MOSCOW, June 7 (Itar-Tass World Service)
On Wednesday, a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) began in Beijing. Russian President Vladimir Putin is participating in the SCO summit. During the SCO summit the program of cooperation in the struggle with terrorism and a resolution on measures and mechanisms of response to the situations, which threaten peace, security and stability in the region was approved.
High on the agenda of the SCO summit became regional security, the Vedomosti daily reported. Three of five documents, which the presidents will sign on Thursday, were devoted to regional security. This is a program of cooperation in the struggle against terrorism, separatism and extremism for 2013-2015, an updated resolution on political and diplomatic measures of response to the situations, which threaten peace, security and stability in the region, and a declaration for the construction of a lasting peace. Among political and diplomatic measures is financial and humanitarian aid, the evacuation of people, the SCO missions to examine the situation.
“Our organization should be ready for everything. You see what is happening in the Arab world and in the Middle East? No one is secured,” Russian Presidential Representative for SCO affairs Kirill Barsky told reporters on Wednesday, noting the need for specifying political and diplomatic SCO measures. This resolution does not envisage military measures, because the organization is not military, Barsky noted. However, the SCO priority remains security in the region.
On the second day of the summit the leaders of the observer countries, namely Mongolia, India, Pakistan and Iran, should join the debates, the Novye Izvestia daily reported. As for Iran, its observer status in the SCO remains unchanged, Kirill Barsky said. The point is that Iran bade for accession in the SCO quite a long time ago, but according to the regulations in 2010, the country, which is under sanctions of the UN Security Council, cannot be acceded in the SCO.
The summiteers will also have to determine the fate of Afghanistan, which bids for the status of observer, the newspaper noted. Meanwhile, in this case the result can turn out to be positive, as the expected US withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014 may result in the world community to lose control over the situation inside the country. If Afghanistan has a status of observer, it will be easier to exert pressure on the country from outside.
The 12th SCO summit will end in Beijing on Thursday. This is the most authoritative forum for the whole period of the organization’s existence, the Kommersant daily noted. The main outcome will become a larger zone of the SCO influence in neighbouring regions thanks to an observer status to Afghanistan and the status of a partner for dialogue to Turkey, as well as the intensification of cooperation with Iran and other regional players, the newspaper believes. Meanwhile, despite high-profile declarations on a higher SCO role in security far beyond the SCO framework, the Beijing summit confirmed that the organization actually divided in “the groups of interest” and became an arena for an unpublicized rivalry between Moscow and Beijing. This was confirmed by the fact that the economic agenda of the SCO summit obviously failed partially, as Russia and China failed to come to a common view on China’s key initiatives to create a bank for development and a SCO special account.
In the future the tug of war between Moscow and Beijing will only intensify in the SCO, the experts noted. “The world cannot keep up with the speed, at which China is changing, mildly ousting Russia from its traditional sphere of influence in southern CIS states,” an expert of the PIR centre Vladimir Kozyulin told the Kommersant daily. “Those results of the summit, which the Russian diplomacy considers its success today, can even build up China’s influence in the CIS states tomorrow,” he said.