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SCO to Hold 6th Summit in Shanghai in June
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The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will hold its sixth summit in its birthplace Shanghai this June, Zhang Deguang, secretary-general of the SCO, said in Beijing Monday.


Speaking at a reception commemorating the second anniversary of opening the SCO Secretariat, Zhang said the year 2006 marks the fifth anniversary of the establishment of the SCO, and the coming summit will summarize the work in past five years and put forward the future development.


Assistant Foreign Minister Li Hui said the Shanghai summit will give a strong impetus to the all-round development of the SCO and further expand the organization's influence among the international community.


The Chinese side, which is currently holding the presidency, has begun full-scale preparations for the summit and commemoration events, said Li.


Before the reception, Zhang told reporters that the SCO will set up a working group handling energy issue in the first half of 2006, discussing possible cooperation within the member states on projects like gas and oil pipe-building, oil exploration and others.


"Energy cooperation is a key area of economic cooperation among SCO member states," said Zhang in an interview. "The working group on energy issue will compose of experts in related areas from the six member states," he added.


Zhang refutes some media's report calling SCO as "oriental NATO," stressing: "SCO is an organization that advances peace and cooperation, and it will never become a military bloc."


He also said the SCO has no intention to absorb new member states at the current stage. "Absorbing new member states needs a legal basis, yet the SCO has no rules concerning the issue. Therefore some western countries have no need to worry about whether India, Iran or other countries would become new members," said Zhang.


More than 100 diplomatic envoys of SCO member states in China, representatives from some other countries and international organizations were present at the reception.


Dubbed "a new model of regional cooperation," SCO is an intergovernmental international organization founded in Shanghai on June 15, 2001 by six countries of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It also has four observer states, including Mongolia, Pakistan, India and Iran.


(Xinhua News Agency January 17, 2006)

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