The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has made great achievements during the process of self development since its establishment five years ago, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said in a recent interview with Chinese media.
The SCO has always been an open organization oriented toward comprehensive international cooperation, said Nazarbayev, who is due to attend an SCO summit on June 15 in Shanghai.
The SCO, as a powerful and promising organization, had established its status among the international community in recent years, the president said.
"The SCO is neither a military bloc nor an exclusive alliance targeting third party," he said.
On the organization's achievements, Nazarbayev said SCO members had formed a broad security zone in their border areas, which was important to the peaceful development and prosperity in the region, as well as its own development.
Past SCO summits and routine meetings had laid a solid legal foundation for realizing the goal of the organization, he said.
The president added that as two standing institutes of the SCO, the secretariat and the executive committee of its regional anti-terror body had already been set up and played an important role in realizing its set goals.
Currently, he said, the SCO was facing two strategic tasks -- safeguarding security in the region, and developing cooperation in economy, trade and investment.
"I believe, for the SCO, its principal task is still the fight against terrorism, separatism, extremism, drug-trafficking and illegal immigration," Nazarbayev said.
"In the meantime, we should pay attention to the development of trade and economic cooperation," he added, noting that SCO member countries had approved a compendium on multilateral cooperation, including more than 100 projects in the fields of economy, science and technology.
Nazarbayev said SCO members should broaden their cooperation in such fields as education, culture, tourism and sports within the framework of the organization.
When asked about measures taken by Kazakhstan to boost the SCO's development, he said his country attached great importance to the organization, and saw their cooperation as one of the priorities of Kazakhstan's foreign policy.
The proposal for the establishment of the SCO was made by China, one of the largest countries in the world and a permanent member of the UN Security Council, Nazarbayev said.
On economic cooperation, he said, Kazakhstan was making efforts to launch bilateral and multilateral projects in the fields of trade and economy, investment, energy, transportation and culture.
"Our country is willing to actively participate in the SCO's economic projects, including investments for those projects based on mutual benefit," said the president.
As for the SCO's prospects and the upcoming summit, he said the organization, as a new system of regional cooperation, would become part of the global security system and the concept of realizing a multi-polar world.
Nazarbayev said that considering the member countries' increasing potential in trade and economic cooperation, the SCO was most likely to become a global center of economic development.
"I hope the upcoming summit in Shanghai will inject new momentum into the efforts made by countries in the region to strengthen their coordination in jointly fighting against terrorism, separatism and extremism," he said.
The summit will review the developments of the SCO since it was established five years ago, analyze international and regional situations, study the organization's future development, and outline cooperation plans, Nazarbayev said.
SCO role in fighting 'three evil forces'
Nazarbayev lauded the role of the SCO in fighting terrorism, separatism and extremism, noting that the regional body should make efforts to become an inalienable part of the global anti-terrorism mechanism.
He said SCO members, including Kazakhstan and China, had attached great importance to maintaining security, peace and stability on the Europe-Asia continent.
The fight against the "three evil forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism, which are posing a grave threat to the peoples of SCO countries, has been a main direction of the SCO since its inauguration in 2001, said Nazarbayev.
To this end, Nazarbayev said the SCO members signed the Astana Declaration at the SCO summit last year in Astana of Kazakhstan, in which the SCO clarified its stance on the most urgent international and regional security issues.
The summit also adopted the Concept of Cooperation of the SCO Members in Fighting Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism, he added.
The SCO members are cracking down on terrorism activities on their territories, including those targeting other countries' national interests, the president said.
The six countries of the SCO have staged anti-terrorism exercises within the framework of the SCO and conducted consultations and exchanged information regularly, Nazarbayev said. The SCO consists of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
The regional anti-terrorism agency of the SCO, established in 2004 to coordinate SCO members' anti-terrorist efforts, are currently working on legal documents for SCO members in fighting terrorism, separatism and extremism, said Nazarbayev.
He also said the SCO members were sparing no efforts to improve the situation in volatile Afghanistan.
A liaison group was established in November 2005 between the SCO and Afghanistan to tackle issues of common concern, he said, adding that the SCO will actively take part in the establishing of an "anti-drug zone" around Afghanistan and in its economic re-construction.
The SCO should make efforts to integrate itself into more international affairs, becoming an inalienable part of the global anti-terrorism mechanism, the president added.
Relations, cooperation with China
Kazakhstan-China relations and the two countries' cooperation within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) are in a very good shape, said Nazarbayev.
He said relations with China had made great headway, including the signing of a good-neighborly treaty of friendship and cooperation in 2002, the thorough settlement of border issues, and the advancements in economic and cultural cooperation.
The bilateral trade volume last year reached US$6 billion, he added, expressing the hope of raising the trade volume to US$10 billion.
The president also highlighted the two countries' cooperation within the framework of SCO, saying their active cooperation covers all the priorities of the bilateral ties.
"Economic cooperation is becoming the driving force of an all-around development of Kazakh-Chinese relations," said Nazarbayev.
The 1,000-km Atasu-Alataw Pass oil pipeline has started to carry oil to China and the two sides are discussing a cross-border natural gas pipeline, the president said, adding that they are also studying the feasibility of setting up oil and gas joint ventures in Kazakhstan.
Meanwhile, the president introduced achievements in his country, mentioning the country's 9-10 percent economic growth rate and the more than US$40 billion of foreign investments.
Founded in Shanghai in 2001, the SCO also comprises Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan with Mongolia, Iran, Pakistan and India as observers.
The heads of state of the six SCO member countries will attend the summit meeting, along with observers and representatives from countries and international organizations that have established cooperative relations with the SCO.
(Xinhua News Agency June 9, 2006)