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SCO to Sign Anti-terror Agreements
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Heads of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states are expected to sign 15 agreements at a summit meeting next month to strengthen cooperation in the fight against terrorism and other fields.


The drafts of the deals and the agenda for the summit were agreed upon by foreign ministers of the SCO, who concluded their annual gathering yesterday at the Shanghai International Convention Center.


Foreign ministers from China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan described their meeting as "substantive and fruitful," and reiterated their pledge to fight terrorism, religious extremism and separatism; and expand trade and economic ties.


According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov, the meeting also decided to strengthen the war against drugs and urged Afghanistan to participate in the effort.


Talbak Nazarov, the foreign minister of Tajikistan, told a joint press conference that the SCO plans to set up an anti-drug center under the framework of the organization but no further details were available.


The meeting also confirmed the common stance of the member states on major international issues.


On the Iran nuclear standoff, Nazarov said, "It is an independent country and we think this matter can only be solved through negotiations.


"If other measures are used to solve the Iran nuclear issue, this will not give the intended results," he said, without elaborating.


The ministers agreed that the SCO member states have a huge potential for trade which is far from being fully exploited.


SCO member states cover an area of over 30 million square kilometers, or about three-fifths of Eurasia, with a population of 1.455 billion, more than a quarter of the world's total.


Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said the SCO "does not target any third party," noting that the group has been developing into a constructive global player.


(China Daily May 16, 2006)

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