The leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states pledged in a joint declaration on Thursday to cooperate in fighting terrorism and new security threats and in strengthening their economic and trade ties.
The achievements the SCO has made since its founding and changes in international relations have proven that the establishment of the organization serves the fundamental interests of the people of the member countries, said the Tashkent Declaration, signed by presidents of China, Russia and the four Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan following their half-day annual summit meeting.
The heads of state of the six SCO member states were concerned about the upsurge in terrorism around the world, stressing the importance of the crackdown on terrorists and efforts to prevent terrorist attacks, the declaration said.
The SCO members will strengthen security cooperation so as to be more effective in fighting terrorism, separatism and extremism, and it is necessary to carry out joint anti-terrorism exercises among security agencies of the member countries.
The heads of state of the six SCO members also expressed satisfaction with the launch of the Tashkent-based Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS).
The SCO members will work out a comprehensive document on cooperation within the organization in countering new security threats and challenges, which include illegal trade of weapons and ammunition, explosives, poisonous and harmful substance, radioactive materials as well as mercenaries, the declaration said.
"Sustained economic development in Central Asia and neighboring regions is an important guarantee of stability and security in the region", the declaration said." Therefore, it is necessary to complete the discussion of the implementation of the measures and plans for multilateral economic and trade cooperation before a meeting of heads of government scheduled later this year in Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan."
The declaration stressed the importance of boosting trade among member countries and coordinating in legislation to create better conditions for the free flow of goods, capital, service and technology.
The six heads of state proposed establishing a development fund for the organization and an entrepreneurs committee. The leaders also said environmental protection and effective utilization of water resources should be put on the agenda for cooperation.
The SCO, set up in June 2001, consists of six member states -- China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Background: Shanghai Cooperation Organization
The SCO is an intergovernmental organization founded in Shanghai on June 15, 2001, by China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Its working languages are Chinese and Russian. The SCO originated and grew from the Shanghai Five mechanism, also known as the "Shanghai Five," which was founded in 1996 and comprised China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan…In 2000, the president of Uzbekistan was invited to the Dushanbe Summit as a guest of the host state. In 2001, the SCO was established in Shanghai and accepted Uzbekistan as a member state…
In January 2004, the SCO officially launched the Secretariat as a standing executive organ in Beijing and the RATS as a permanent organ in Tashkent.
At present, SCO cooperation has covered wide-ranging areas such as security, economy, transportation, culture, disaster relief and law enforcement, with security and economic cooperation being the priorities…
Xinhua, June 18, 2004