Afghanistan seeks observer status in SCO

15:24, June 16, 2011      

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Afghanistan wants to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as an observer state, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said here Wednesday.

"We want to become an observer in this important forum and hope that the Council of the SCO heads of state will respond positively to our request," Karzai said at the SCO summit in Astana.

The Afghan president attended the two-day SCO summit, which ended Wednesday with a communique pledging enhanced regional security, economic and cultural cooperation.

Afghanistan "expects real cooperation with the SCO countries in combating the threat of terrorism and trafficking of arms and drugs," he said.

Karzai also expressed the wish that the SCO partners could make investments in his country, which boasts large amounts of mineral resources.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev urged the SCO member states to cooperate more broadly with Afghanistan during Wednesday's summit.

"Afghanistan is our neighbor, whose cooperation with the SCO could be stronger. I understand all participants in the forum agree with that," Medvedev said.

Founded on June 15, 2001, the SCO groups China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Observer countries include Mongolia, Pakistan, Iran and India while Belarus and Sri Lanka are dialogue partners.

The next SCO summit will be held in 2012 in China.

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