Leaders attending the fourth summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan vowed Thursday to enhance joint efforts to safeguard regional peace and promote economic development.
Chinese President Hu Jintao proposed that the SCO focus its attention on security and economic issues.
Speaking at a press conference following the 2004 summit meeting of the SCO, Hu said that practical cooperation will keep the SCO full of vitality as it brings concrete opportunities to its members and their people.
The Tashkent Declaration signed by the presidents of the six members Thursday says the SCO is entering a new stage of full-range cooperation.
"To realize that target, we must jointly fight the 'three forces' of terrorism, separatism and extremism, deal with transnational threats and curb drug smuggling to maintain national security and social stability of the SCO members," Hu said.
Security has been a priority issue of the SCO that was founded by Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in 2001.
At the current meeting, the six countries agreed on joint efforts to fight illegal drug dealing.
Hu stressed that the SCO should also focus its attention on economic cooperation among members.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said the future development of SCO depends on the members working together particularly in economic issues.
Enjoying adjacent boundaries and faced with similar problems, the SCO countries could tackle the potential for economic and trading cooperation together, he said.
The SCO has decided to establish five specialized working groups dealing with e-commerce, customs, quality inspection, investment promotion and transportation.
Hu said the five groups should start to work as soon as possible and put forward proposals for closer economic cooperation between the members.
Other documents signed by the SCO leaders include a convention on SCO privilege and exemption, and agreements on combating the trafficking of illegal narcotics. They also agreed on host countries for an SCO Secretariat and regional anti-terrorism center, officials said.
These documents would set legal foundation for SCO's development, helping it become a real international organization, said Uzbek President Karimov at the press conference.
Invited by Uzbek President Islam Abduganiyevich Karimov as a special guest, Afghan President Hamid Karzai also attended the summit.
The SCO formally launched its regional anti-terrorist body Thursday morning, hours before the summit meeting.
According to the SCO, the prime objectives and functions of the Regional Anti-terrorist Structure are:
l Maintaining working contacts with main administrative bodies of SCO member states and strengthening coordination with international organizations on matters of combating the "three evil forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism;
l Participating in preparing drafts of international legal documents on matters of combating the "three evil forces," taking measures to establish -- together with UN Security Council and its anti-terrorist committee, and international and regional organizations -- a mechanism of effective regulation of global challenges and threats;
l Gathering and analyzing information provided by member states on matters concerning the fight against the "three evil forces," creating an anti-terrorism database and presenting proposals for promoting cooperation within the SCO in the struggle against the "three evil forces;"
l Preparing and holding research conferences to exchange experiences on combating the "three evil forces."
The SCO has accepted Mongolia as an observer under a decision made by the heads of state of the six members Thursday.
Mongolian External Relations Minister Luvsangiin Erdenechuluun, who participated in the summit meeting as a special envoy of Mongolian President Nachagyn Bagabandy, formally made the request to join the SCO on behalf of the president.
(China Daily June 18, 2004)