The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is holding a summit meeting Thursday in China's largest city Shanghai, the birthplace of the intergovernmental organization that groups China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
The summit started at 9:00 AM in the Shanghai International Convention Center in the Pudong New District, with red carpets and handshakes between Chinese President Hu Jintao 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.
The six heads of state are holding a closed-door meeting after a group photo was taken.
Later in the morning, other participants to the summit will join them for "big group talks" -- including representatives from the four observer countries of Mongolia, India, Pakistan and Iran, and international organizations. Afghan President Hamid Karzai will attend the talks as a guest of the host country.
The four observers are represented by Mongolian President Nambaryn Enkhbayar, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and Indian Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Murli Deora.
At the end of the morning session, the presidents of the six SCO member countries will sign a number of documents including a joint declaration marking the fifth founding anniversary of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. They will also meet the press.
Thursday's summit is considered a milestone in the SCO's history, which was established in Shanghai five years ago.
President Hu is scheduled to preside over the summit and give a speech that elaborates on China's policies toward the SCO and suggestions to push forward the organization's development.
Presidents of the six member countries will review the organization's achievements in the past five years, outline objectives for future cooperation and exchange ideas on major international and regional issues.
(Xinhua News Agency June 15, 2006)