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New SCO Secretary-General Prioritizes Peace and Security
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The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) should ensure the peace and security of its six member countries, according to the SCO's newly-elected secretary-general Bolat Nurgaliev.

The most important task for the SCO now is to further crackdown on terrorism, separatism and extremism, Nurgaliev told Xinhua on Wednesday.

"The organization has achieved great progress in this aspect, with the whole region currently in a stable and predictable situation," Nurgaliev said.

It's of key importance to ensure economic and cultural cooperation between members as the happiness of people in our member countries can only be guaranteed under good economic, cultural and health conditions, he said.

He pointed out that the future of the organization was closely linked to that of Asia and Europe.

The SCO has signed cooperation documents with the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Eurasian Economic Community and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. It is now negotiating with other international organizations to establish partnerships.

"The SCO will achieve great success if it can maintain internal solidarity, ensure peace and stability of its members and promote regional integration in economic and cultural sectors," Nurgaliev said.

The 55-year-old secretary-general was once vice foreign minister of Kazakhstan and Kazakhstan's ambassador to the United States, Republic of Korea and Japan.

Nurgaliev told Xinhua that he had shown great interest in China's history and culture as a child. He said that it was lucky he had the chance to work in the Shanghai-based organization so he could find out more about Chinese society.

"Before I came to China, I read a lot of books about the country, watched Chinese movies and dramas and listened to friends and colleagues. I was well prepared," he told Xinhua.
The SCO, founded in Shanghai on June 15, 2001, aims to promote regional security and fight against terrorism. It comprises China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

(Xinhua News Agency January 18, 2007)

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