Top legislators of the six member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) pledged in Moscow on Tuesday to further promote cooperation in various fields, especially cooperation between legislatures within the group.
The commitment was made in a joint statement issued after SCO's first speakers' meeting, attended by Chairman of the Kazakh Senate Nurtai Abykayev, Chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC) Wu Bangguo, Speaker of the Supreme Council of Kyrgyzstan Marat Sultanov, Chairman of the Russian Federation Council (the upper house) Sergei Mironov, Chairman of the Russian State Duma (the lower house) Boris Gryzlov, Speaker of the Upper House of the Supreme Assembly of Tajikistan Makhmad said Ubaidullayev and Speaker of Uzbekistan's Legislature Chamber Erkin Khalilov.
Highlighting SCO's principles of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for cultural diversity and aspiration for common development, participants of the meeting pledged in the statement to support efforts of SCO's member states and governments to promote continued development of the group, safeguard regional peace and stability and enhance economic cooperation.
Inter-parliamentary cooperation constitutes an important part of the cooperation within the group, the statement said, adding that the legislatures will play a more active role in providing legal safeguards for cooperation among member states in all fields.
The respective legislatures will enhance exchanges in lawmaking experience and legal information, coordinate member states' laws in a timely and balanced way and speed up ratification of SCO-related agreements, the statement said.
The participants also reiterated that the legislatures would provide legal support to aid cooperation in security, economy, culture and society among member states, the statement said.
Ways to strengthen the inter-parliamentary cooperation include regular meetings of top legislators of the member states and representative consultations among specialized committees, the statement added.
The statement also reviewed the achievements accomplished since the group's establishment five years ago. These list safeguarding peace, stability and security of Middle Asia, fighting terrorism, separatism, extremism, drug and weapons smuggling and over-the-border crimes. Developing cooperation among members' economies, science and technology, culture and education, improving peoples' living standards and addressing illegal immigration were also included in the document.
The SCO has also contributed to strengthening political cooperation and promoting coordination and consultation in dealing with significant international and regional issues, the statement added.
The statement came just weeks before the heads of state from the six member states, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, are expected to meet in Shanghai on June 15 to celebrate the fifth anniversary of SCO's establishment.
The SCO was founded in Shanghai on June 15, 2001, with a view to promoting regional security and fighting terrorism.
The SCO has accepted Mongolia, Iran, Pakistan and India as observers.
The participants expressed their belief that the summit would strengthen the group's achievements in politics, economy, culture and security, according to the statement.
The summit will also contribute to bringing multilateral cooperation between the member states to a higher level, and to further promoting the SCO's development, the statement said.
This is the first time the top legislators from the six SCO member states have met.
(Xinhua News Agency May 31, 2006)