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SCO cultural ministers' meeting opens in Kyrgyzstan
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Cultural ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member nations held a meeting Tuesday in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, according to news reports.

Addressing an opening ceremony of the meeting, Kyrgyz State Secretary Nuruulu Dosbol said cultural cooperation is an important element of multilateral cooperation within the SCO, which groups China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

The SCO's cooperation in the cultural field is playing a more and more active role in promoting friendship and strengthening mutual understanding among the peoples of the member nations of the organization, he added.

At the meeting, the ministers reviewed the present multilateral cultural cooperation within the SCO and discussed plans for further cooperation in this field.

They agreed that SCO members should make concerted efforts to take substantial measures, strengthen pragmatic cooperation, and give a great deal of press publicity to their cooperation in cultural activities.

Three agreements on cultural exchanges among SCO members, including a plan on inter-governmental cultural cooperation, were approved during the meeting.

The culture ministers also agreed to hold their next meeting in Russia.

Kyrgyz Prime Minister Igor Chudinov received the cultural ministers after their meeting also on Tuesday.

The multilateral cultural cooperation within the SCO framework will create more opportunities for Kyrgyzstan, Chudinov said.

As culture stands as the fundamental booster for a country's prosperity, the Kyrgyz government has attached great importance to the development of culture and poured a huge amount of money into cultural infrastructure construction, said Chudinov.

The SCO member states, with profound cultural and historical links, should make joint efforts to promote such links and let them serve as the cornerstone for friendly neighborliness, he said.

Chinese Minister of Culture Cai Wu, on behalf of his Uzbek, Russian, Tajik and Kazak counterparts, expressed the ministers' appreciation for Chudinov's receiving.

Cai said China and Kyrgyzstan, with a long history of cultural exchange and solid foundations for friendship, have made remarkable achievements in boosting cultural ties in recent years through the two sides' joint efforts.

China is scheduled to hold the Kyrgyz Cultural Day in Beijing in late September and has invited Central Asian artists to participate in the 10th Asian Art Festival scheduled for the same period in Zhengzhou, Henan Province.

The SCO was established on June 15, 2001, to boost regional cooperation and stability.

(Xinhua News Agency June 25, 2008)

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