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Russia-China-led bloc needs tools to ensure common security — defense chief

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu expressed hope that the results of today’s meeting would lay a solid foundation for the SCO’s further consistent development and for maintaining common stability and security

DUSHANBE, July 28. /TASS/. The member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) need to create effective tools of ensuring common security in their area of responsibility, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said at a meeting of the SCO’s defense chiefs on Wednesday.

"In the current conditions, the importance of practical interaction between the defense ministries of member states and the creation of effective tools of common security in the SCO responsibility area has grown considerably," Shoigu pointed out.

For these purposes, Russia’s defense chief suggested that the SCO defense ministers should focus on implementing several key tasks.

"Firstly, developing mechanisms within the SCO to exchange information in the sphere of military security and experience in the war on terror and also maintaining regular contacts between the General Staffs," Shoigu pointed out.

Five years ago, an expert working group under the auspices of SCO defense ministers’ conferences was set up, he recalled.

"It is necessary to continue fine-tuning this cooperation mechanism and give it practical substance, display more initiative in drawing up a list of issues examined by experts," Shoigu said.

The Russian defense chief also suggested "expanding the geography of military cooperation measures and strengthening their information coverage."

The second task stipulates improving troop training and Peace Mission joint counter-terror drills that should focus on practicing the methods of countering new tactical techniques used by international terrorists, Shoigu said.

"In particular, this relates to the issues of fighting unmanned aerial vehicles, providing information security and preventing terror attacks with the use of chemical and biological weapons," the Russian defense minister pointed out.

"Thirdly, raising the level of SCO interaction on the issues of security with third countries and international organizations," Shoigu went on to say.

"This requires working on the possibility and acceptable forms of jointly engaging anti-crisis potentials of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Collective Security Treaty Organization," the defense minister pointed out.

It is important to expand the format of participation in SCO drills by engaging military contingents and observers of friendly countries and regional organizations, such as the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) and the CIS, Shoigu said.

"The appropriate legal framework should be worked out, if necessary," he said.

The Russian defense chief said he hoped that "the results of today’s meeting and the implementation of the proposals that were voiced would lay a solid foundation for the SCO’s further consistent development and for maintaining common stability and security."