Russian President Vladimir Putin has hailed the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) for introducing new patterns for successful international cooperation.
Putin made the remarks in an article published on the eve of the SCO's 2006 summit to be held on Thursday in Shanghai. The summit coincides with the fifth anniversary of the group's establishment.
SCO members are Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Terming the SCO as an "influential regional organization", Putin said the SCO has become an important factor in maintaining stability in Eurasia.
Countries in the region have long understood the importance of joining forces to meet new challenges faced by them, Putin said. Only on the basis of multilateral cooperation and through their own efforts, can peace and economic development in the region be guaranteed, he said.
Reviewing the SCO's achievements in resolving the border problems among members, Putin elaborated on the organization's successful cooperation in a number of areas, including security, economy and culture.
Facing the menace of "the three evil forces" of terrorism, separatism and religious extremism, members of the SCO had had discussions on the importance of joining efforts in fighting terrorism and begun practical work on it long before the September 11 terrorist attacks on the US.
The member states already have effective means to counter the threat of terrorism, separatism and extremism, he added, saying that the next move will be coordination and cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking.
Maintaining regional stability has been the focus of the SCO and extensive cooperation has been conducted among members in this regard, with emphasis being laid on coordinating actions and working out specific measures.
Putin also highlighted the SCO's cooperation with observer states, including India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia.
With an open approach toward dialogue, the SCO is ready to work together with other countries and organizations to promote peace, stability and development.
Economic cooperation among the member states has become increasingly important to the SCO itself.
There is huge potential for effective and mutually beneficial cooperation in the region, he said, adding that people's standards of living in the region will be greatly improved through such cooperation.
Regional integration will help bring into full play the member states' competitive advantages in energy, resources supply and transportation.
The SCO also places cooperation among enterprises and financial institutions high on the agenda.
Within the framework of the SCO, humanistic and cultural exchanges have become increasingly active, Putin said.
The SCO has also accumulated rich experience in cultural exchanges and academic dialogue, and documents on educational cooperation are being drawn up, Putin said, adding that bilateral cooperation in tourism and sports should be extended to multilateral levels.
The SCO has set a model for equal partnership in Eurasia. The strategic aim of such a partnership is to enhance regional security and stability, promote economic progress and push forward the process of regional integration while maintaining the national and cultural identities of each member.
Based on "the Shanghai Spirit" characterized by mutual trust, openness and transparency, non-coercion and consensus, the SCO has laid down a solid foundation for making even greater contributions to efforts to resolve global issues in the present-day world.
(Xinhua News Agency June 14, 2006)