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SCO leaders observe joint anti-terror drill in Russia's Chelyabinsk
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18:38, August 17, 2007

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Heads of state and defense ministers from the member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) gathered in Russia's Chelyabinsk on Friday to observe a joint anti-terrorism drill.

The drill involved airborne forces, fighter-bombers, military helicopters, armored vehicles and other heavy weapons.

The drill was the final stage of a first ever joint military exercise involving all the six member states of the SCO, namely China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan

The exercises, dubbed "Peace Mission 2007," was carried out first in Urumqi, capital of China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and later in Chelyabinsk in Russia's Ural Mountains, from Aug. 9 to Aug. 17.

"The joint drill is significant because it helps reinforce the anti-terror capabilities of the SCO member states and meanwhile intensify partnership among them in defense affairs," said General Xu Qiliang, deputy chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army.

Among the 4,000 officers and soldiers attending the military exercise, China contributed 1,600 troops and Russia sent 2,000.

Kazakhstan Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Mukhtar Altynbayev said earlier that terrorism, separatism and religious extremism constitute immediate threats to the people of the SCO member states and jointly cracking down on the three evil forces is one of the main tasks of the SCO.

The drill "is not aimed at any third party," said Liang Guanglie, chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, at a press conference in Urumqi last Thursday.

"It does not concern the interest of any third party nor threatens any country," he said.

Founded in Shanghai on June 15, 2001, the SCO seeks to enhance cooperation among member states in various areas such as security, economy, transportation, culture, disaster relief and law enforcement, with security and economic cooperation being the priorities.

Source: Xinhua

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