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SCO Summit Aims for Regional Prosperity, Harmony
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The annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) sent a clear signal on Thursday that the member economies will intensify all-round cooperation and strive to turn the region into a harmonious one with lasting peace and common prosperity.

To that effect, Chinese President Hu Jintao proposed the formation of a convention featuring lasting good neighborly relations and cooperation within the SCO framework at the SCO summit meeting in Shanghai, where the regional cooperation body was founded on June 15, 2001.

The summit started at 9 AM at the Shanghai International Convention Center in Pudong, with group photos, handshakes and a closed-door meeting between Hu and his counterparts from the other five member countries -- Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonov and Uzbek President Islam Karimov.

They were later joined for an extended meeting by other participants to the summit, including representatives from the four observer countries of Mongolia, India, Pakistan and Iran, and international organizations. Afghan President Hamid Karzai also attended the talks as China's guest.

The four observers were represented by Mongolian President Nambaryn Enkhbayar, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and Indian Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Murli Deora.

"We should respect and support the interests and concerns of all SCO member countries, enhance coordination and cooperation in international and regional issues, and timely consult on measures to cope with major international and regional issues," Hu said.

He proposed the formation of a convention to consolidate the foundation of political trust, unity and coordination among SCO member states, and ensure the lasting vigor of the organization.

"We should carry out at an early date a number of economic and technological cooperation projects that will benefit all the parties involved, especially in the fields of energy, electricity, transportation and telecommunication."

He expressed the hope that the international community could respect the social system and road of development independently chosen by SCO member countries and observer countries, respect their internal and external policies of peace, friendship and cooperation based on their own domestic situation, and create a harmonious and easy environment for their development.

Hu said it was a "historic decision" to establish the SCO, attributing its growth to the member countries' advantages and adherence to the principles of peace and development, sufficient democracy and opening-up.

"The successful experience of the SCO can be condensed to one point, that is to unswervingly advocate and practice the Shanghai Spirit of mutual trust and benefit, equality, respect for cultural diversity and a desire for common development," he said.

Peace, development and cooperation have become a trend of the current world, but there still exist various traditional and untraditional threats to security. Like the other parts of the world, the SCO region maintains basically stable but is faced with the "three evil forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism, and the problems of drugs and cross-border crimes. In particular, the region is economically less developed.

"We should enhance all-round cooperation and strive to turn the region into a harmonious area with lasting peace and common prosperity," the Chinese president said.

China will join hands with other member countries to push forward the SCO's substantial cooperation with observers, Afghanistan, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Commonwealth of Independent States.

"China's peaceful development will bring about great opportunities for neighboring countries, especially SCO members, and China will constantly increase input and push forward the development of the SCO," he said.

Echoing Hu's remarks, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said the SCO is an important element in current international relations and has witnessed an increasing status and a stronger anti-terrorism capability.

Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev spoke highly of Hu's proposed convention on lasting good neighborly relations and cooperation within the SCO framework.

The SCO should expand cooperation with other countries and international organizations in international information security, economic and trade as well as humanistic sectors, said Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonov said the SCO's establishment is "an inevitable trend" and its members should make concerted efforts to improve the organization's international prestige.

The collaboration among SCO members based on mutual trust, mutual respect and constructive cooperation will contribute to regional peace and stability and will improve the lives of the people, said Uzbek President Islam Karimov.

The other participants also made separate speeches at the summit. They spoke highly of the SCO's achievements over the past five years, and expressed hope to further intensify cooperation with the organization.

After the talks, the presidents of the six SCO members signed 10 documents, including a declaration on the SCO's fifth anniversary, a joint communiqué on closer SCO cooperation, a statement on international information security, an anti-terrorism resolution for the 2007-2009 period, an agreement on joint anti-terrorism actions among member countries, and an agreement to cut off the infiltration channels of terrorists, separatists and extremists.

The day ended with artistic performances, including a chorus presented by 10 artistes, one from each of the SCO's member and observer states.

Next year's SCO summit will be held in Kyrgyzstan.

SCO Members Issue Joint Communiqué

(Xinhua News Agency June 16, 2006)

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