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SCO Members Issue Joint Communiqué
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The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) members issued a joint communiqué in Shanghai on Thursday, saying that the fight against the "three evil forces" remains the organization's top priority.


"It remains the top priority of the organization to combat the threats posed by terrorism, separatism and extremism as well as illegal drug trafficking, which have not diminished but aggravated in scale and degree," says the communiqué, which was released after the SCO concluded its annual summit.


Founded in Shanghai on June 15, 2001, the SCO comprises China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Presidents of the six member states attended Thursday's summit.


Presidents and representatives of Mongolia, Pakistan, Iran and India, which are the observer states of the organization, also attended the meeting.


On the day when the organization was founded, the six heads of state signed the Shanghai Pact on fighting terrorism, separatism and extremism. To coordinate SCO members' efforts in fighting the "three evil forces," the SCO set up a regional anti-terrorism agency in Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan.


The communiqué says the heads of state spoke positively of the work done by the SCO Regional Anti-terrorism Structure, and were convinced that this structure has the potential to better perform its duties and carry out its mission.


The SCO members have conducted three joint anti-terrorism military exercises and will hold another one in Russia in 2007.


The communiqué also says "the SCO will try to expand cooperation among member states in the international arena in various forms and by various means."


It says the organization will hold regular consultations with observers and international organizations concerned. "This is fully applicable to the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group, which is already functioning."


According to the communiqué, the heads of state pointed out with satisfaction that the initiative endorsed by the Council of Heads of State in Tashkent 2004 on establishing cooperative relations among international organizations in the Asia-Pacific region was warmly and widely received.


They welcomed the signing of cooperation documents between the SCO and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Eurasian Economic Community (EURASEC), the communiqué says.


"They reiterated that the SCO is ready to forge similar ties with other international organizations and financial institutions on the basis of equality and mutual respect," it says.


"The SCO Secretariat should, together with the Executive Committee of the SCO Regional Anti-terrorist Structure, closely follow the implementation of cooperation documents signed between the SCO and other organizations and energetically promote concrete cooperation with the observers," it says.


The heads of state also entrusted the Council of National Coordinators to make recommendations on the procedure of SCO membership enlargement, the communiqué says, adding that this procedure should fully conform to the purposes and goals set forth in the Charter of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, ensure the effectiveness of all treaties that form the legal basis of the SCO, help strengthen its unity and guarantee the applicability of the principle of consensus to consultations on all matters and at all levels of the SCO.


According to the communiqué, the next meeting of the Council of Heads of State will be held in Bishkek in 2007. Kyrgyzstan will assume SCO presidency next year.


(Xinhua News Agency June 15, 2006)

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