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NEWS

SCO Speeding up Establishment of Special Account

5 May 2012

http://english.cri.cn/index.htm of 5/5/2012  - The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will speed up the establishment of a special account and development bank in order to enhance its members' ability to cope with new threats and challenges.

Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi made the announcement at a press briefing on Friday after meeting with his counterparts from the other five SCO member countries -- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Yang said the foreign ministers agreed to improve the organization's ability to warn of potential crises and manage emergencies in order to maintain the sovereignty and security interests of SCO member countries.

The member countries should also make greater efforts to deal with the impact of issues related to finance, energy and food safety, according to Yang.

The foreign ministers will submit a draft regulation on political and diplomatic measures and mechanisms designed to deal with issues threatening regional peace, security and stability to a SCO summit to be held in June in Beijing for approval, according to a press release issued after their meeting.

The foreign ministers reaffirmed their cooperation in fighting terrorism, separatism, extremism, drug smuggling and transnational organized crime, stressing the need for member states to maintain international information security within the SCO framework and in other international organizations and forums, the press release said.

Yang said the foreign ministers agreed that the SCO should continue to deepen relations with its observers and dialogue partners, as well as friendly organizations like the United Nations (UN).

The foreign ministers said the organization should create a bigger role for observers and dialogue partners within the SCO framework, according to the press release.

They vowed to strengthen cooperation with other international and regional organizations on international and regional affairs. The foreign ministers also asked the Council of Heads of State to review the dialogue partner status of Turkey, the press release said.

China's foreign minister said SCO members will pay attention to events currently unfolding in Afghanistan, west Asia and north Africa. They will continue to play a constructive role in promoting the peaceful reconstruction of Afghanistan, appeal for adherence to the principles of the UN Charter and international laws, respect the choices of countries and people in the region and maintain peace, stability, prosperity and progress.

The press release said the SCO is concerned with the situation in Afghanistan, as it is closely related to regional peace and stability. All sides support the United Nations in playing a leading role to find a solution to the violence there, as well as support the efforts of the Afghan people to peacefully reconstruct their country.

The SCO supports Afghanistan's drive to become an independent, peaceful, neutral and prosperous country, the release said.

The foreign ministers will submit Afghanistan's observer status for review during the June summit.

The foreign ministers also voiced support for further cooperation in areas related to technology, culture, health, tourism and disaster relief.

Yang said the next decade is a key period for the development of the SCO. All member countries have agreed to submit a completed strategic plan on the organization's medium-term development to the SCO summit to approve, he added.

According to Yang, the upcoming summit will witness the signing of several agreements concerning politics, security, economics and culture.

He said the member countries will strengthen the construction of the SCO's standing institutions. On Friday afternoon, the foreign ministers unveiled a new building for the SCO Secretariat.

Yang said the SCO is a priority in China's foreign policy. The Chinese side will make joint efforts with other SCO members to make the organization an effective platform for regional cooperation, as well as a strong link for long-lasting friendship among all members, he said.

The meeting of the SCO foreign ministers opened Friday morning in Beijing to review and discuss cooperation among SCO members, formulate further measures and suggestions and prepare for the June summit.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Yerzhan Kazykhanov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kyrgyzstan Ruslan Kazakbayev, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan Hamrohon Zarifi and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan Kamilov Abdulaziz Khafizovich attended the meeting.

After the meeting, the foreign ministers signed a resolution and held a joint press briefing.

The foreign ministers also attended the opening ceremony for the new SCO Secretariat, located on central Beijing's Ritan road. Yang said the Secretariat has made "special contributions" to the development of the SCO, and all member states desire to see the improvement of the working conditions of the Secretariat.

President Hu Jintao met with all of the foreign ministers on Friday afternoon.

Observers of the SCO include Mongolia, Pakistan, Iran and India. Its dialogue partners are Belarus and Sri Lanka.