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Putin to take part in SCO summit in Dushanbe

Afghanistan, Ukraine, SCO development on agenda

MOSCOW, September 11. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin will arrive in Dushanbe on Thursday to take part in a two-day summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

“It is a landmark summit for us as after Dushanbe Russian will take over presidency in the SCO from Tajikistan,” Russian president’s aide Yuri Ushakov told Journalists on Wednesday.

On Thursday evening, ahead of the official summit’s programme, the heads of delegations will meet at a gala concert and a dinner. On Friday, September 12, the Council of the Heads of State will meet first in a narrow format and later in an extended format, involving representatives from SCO observer countries /Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia, and Pakistan/. Turkmenistan’s president and heads of a number of international organizations have been invited to the summit as guests.

The final document - the Dushanbe declaration - is expected to focus on consolidated approaches of the member states to the SCO development and to acute international issues.

According to Ushakov, at their narrow-format meeting the SCO heads of state will discuss cooperation in the sphere of security and efforts to improve the SCO activities. They will also exchange views on the situation in the region and in the world.

“Traditionally, major attention at a narrow-format meeting will be focused on informal discussion of the situation in Afghanistan,” Ushakov said. “We hope the meeting will yield a consolidated position of the SCO member states, who stand for Afghanistan’s development as an independent, neutral and peaceful states and support the central, coordinating role of the United Nations Organization in efforts on the Afghan settlement and assistance to the Afghan people.”

He also said that Russia planned to come out with an initiative to organize in Russia a SCO top-level conference on Afghanistan and invite SCO member states, observers and partners, as well representatives from other countries and international organizations concerned. The previous such conference was held in Moscow in March 2009.

Another topical international problem to be discussed at the SCO summit will be the Ukrainian crisis. “It is planned to include into the Dushanbe declaration provisions on the Ukrainian developments,” Ushakov noted. “It will be noted that the SCO heads of state stand for the soonest restoration of peace in Ukraine, for continuation of the negotiating process to finally settle the crisis in that country.” The SCO leaders, according to Ushakov, commend the Minsk protocol signed after consultations of the Contact Group on Ukraine.

Ushakov also stressed that the SCO member countries reiterated their readiness to step up efforts against terrorism, illegal drug trafficking, trans-border organized crime and other challenges. The declaration will set a task of intensifying multilateral and bilateral ties in the areas of culture, science and technology, innovation, education, etc.

Apart from that, the summit is expected to yield documents regulating accession to the organization for new members. Ushakov reminded that India, Pakistan and Iran had applied for SCO membership. “However due to the United Nation’s current sanctions, Iran’s admission will be apparently postponed,” he said, adding that India and Pakistan could be granted full-fledged membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization already at its next summit in Russia’s Ufa in July 2015.

The SCO summit is also planned to make a decision to elaborate a draft strategy of the SCO development till the year 2025 /in this event, the strategy may be adopted at the Ufa summit in 2015/ and a decision on joint celebrations on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the victory in WWII.

Apart from that, Putin will hold separate meetings with the leaders of China, Mongolia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan /on September 11/ and with the leaders of Kazakhstan and Iran /on September 12/.

After the Dushanbe summit, Russia will take over the presidency in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization from Tajikistan. The next SCO summit will be held in Russia’s city of Ufa on July 9-10, 2015 along with the summit of the BRICS (an acronym standing for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization includes Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. Observer states are Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia, and Pakistan. Belarus, Turkey and Sri Lanka have a status of partners in dialogue.