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Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit opens in Bishkek

September 13, 2013, 10:44 UTC+3

High on the agenda of the SCO summit is the situation around Syria

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A summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has opened in Bishkek on Friday. At the SCO summit Russia and ten SCO states and observer countries will make a joint statement over Syria. For Moscow this is an opportunity to remind of the fact that the country has many influential allies on the world scene. Meanwhile, analysts noted that many issues remain unsettled in the SCO.

On Friday, the top officials of the SCO states (Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) and observer countries (Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan) and representatives of the SCO dialogue partners (Belarus, Turkey and Sri Lanka) are participating in a SCO summit, which Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev hosts in the capital of this Central Asian republic, the Kommersant daily reported. The main document of the SCO summit will become a Bishkek declaration, which spells out the SCO position on the most pressing foreign political issues.

High on the agenda of the SCO summit is the situation around Syria, which had been changing up to Thursday evening, a Kommersant source in the SCO Secretariat said. The source explained that all SCO states “oppose a Western intervention in Syria and the undermining of foreign political and regional stability in the Middle East,” which will be reflected in the document.

Another important issue of the declaration will be the situation in Afghanistan. On Thursday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov acknowledged that the SCO states are concerned over destabilization of the situation in the country and the region after the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan in 2014.

However, the SCO states failed to agree on several important documents, primarily the funding of investment projects, the Kommersant daily said. The dispute over this issue lasts already for more than a year. Russia proposes to create a special account, from which initial project preparation and feasibility studies of integration projects would be funded within the SCO. China insists on the creation of a SCO bank of development. Beijing is prepared to make massive investment in its authorized capital.

The question of admitting new members in the SCO remains unsettled. Iran and Pakistan have made bids for SCO membership, Igor Morgulov said. India also stated about the country’s intention to become a SCO state, Mongolia also shows interest in this issue.

The Vedomosti daily recalled that the SCO accession rules of new member-countries were already approved at the SCO summit in Astana two years ago. These rules envision that a country, which is exposed to U.N. sanctions or which is in the state of conflict with another country, cannot be admitted in the organization. Iran, Pakistan and India filed their bids several years ago. However, Iran’s membership is impossible over the U.N. sanctions imposed on the country. The SCO summiteers will not take any decisions over SCO membership for some more countries, deputy head of the Kyrgyz presidential staff Sapar Isakov said in the previous week.

Two SCO central states - Russia and China - share the same political position over non-interference in the situation in Syria without the United Nations Organization. Turkey adheres to other position, but the country has a dialogue partner status in the SCO, therefore, it cannot exert any influence on the final statement or probably a statement taken in solidarity by the SCO states, the Vedomosti daily cited Leonid Gusev from the Moscow State University of International Relations (MGIMO) as saying.

“China as before will seek to use the organization to realize the country’s economic interests, Russia will state about security and the balance of interests. Russia’s ‘younger brothers’ will seek to use the summit for getting investment and financial aid from more wealthy countries,” the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily quoted the experts as saying a week before the SCO summit.

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