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SCO, Afghanistan need to deepen cooperation, secretary general
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21:24, August 22, 2007

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It is imperative for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and Afghanistan to deepen cooperation, said SCO Secretary-General Bolat Nurgaliev in Beijing on Wednesday.

"The situation in Afghanistan remains unstable, which might pose a threat to its neighboring SCO countries. So it is imperative to deepen cooperation between the two sides within the framework of SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group," said Nurgaliev at a press conference in Beijing.

Nurgaliev said the cooperation should cover not only economy and trade but also anti-terrorism and other fields.

The SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group, established in November, 2005, is a platform to help Afghanistan for reconstruction.

Last week, the SCO leaders signed a declaration at an annual summit, pledging to participate in the efforts to help normalize Afghanistan's political situation, promote economic cooperation with Afghanistan and improve the work of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group.

They appealed to expand anti-drug cooperation within the framework of the SCO, and to join international efforts to build an anti-drug safety belt around Afghanistan, the declaration said.

At the press conference, Nurgaliev also said the SCO members are coordinating their stances in creating an energy club as part of efforts for the "Asian energy strategy".

Nurgaliev didn't provide details about how the energy club will operate.

But he said the SCO countries should first find a way to balance their interests as the organization includes both energy consumers and producers.

In last week's declaration, the leaders of the six member states, namely China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, agreed to conduct dialogues on the energy issue and promote cooperation between energy producers, transit states and consumers.

Source: Xinhua

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