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SCO, Afghanistan Step up Regional Security Cooperation

Secretary-general of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Zhang Deguang said in Beijing on Friday that this organization will give priority to cooperation with Afghanistan in regional security.

Speaking at a ceremony held at the Beijing-based SCO Secretariat for signing the protocol on the establishment of a liaison group between the SCO and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Zhang said Afghanistan is a friendly neighbor of SCO member states. Its domestic situation has great impact on the security of Central Asia.

"Afghanistan has become one of the major battlefields of global fight against terrorism. The SCO, whose overwhelming majority of member states are in Central Asia, shares similar aspiration with Afghanistan in strengthening mutual cooperation to safeguard regional peace and stability," he said.

Qiamuddin Rai Barlas, ambassador of Afghanistan to China, said at the ceremony that the establishment of the liaison group will be a new starting point for promoting existing historic relationship between Afghanistan and China as well as other countries in the region.

In accordance with the protocol, the SCO-Afghanistan liaison group will hold regular consultations to make proposals and recommendations on cooperation between the two sides on issues of common concern.

(Xinhua News Agency November 5, 2005)

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