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SCO: Implementation crucial for economic, trade ties among its members
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16:16, November 05, 2007

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A eries of vital, substantial achievements have been scored at the Sixth Meeting of Prime Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) held Friday or on November 2, in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

The meeting beefed up cooperation in the economic and trade sector and humanity field. Since the founding of SCO in 2001, six member nations have unfolded exchanges regarding humanities in an all-round way. SCO has not only started a meeting mechanism for culture and education ministers of member nations, signed cooperation accords and hosted art festivals, but also actively confer on cooperation possibilities in such spheres as environmental protection, emergency disaster rescue or relief operation and the sanitation and anti-epidemic efforts. Moreover, tourism and sports exchanges have also been enhanced.

Compared with political and security cooperation, economic and humanity cooperation is easier of access to the populace and facilitates the participation of varied localities, enterprises and non-governmental organizations, providing a solid material and social foundation for the development of SCO.

The conference has given scope to a very special role of the prime ministers meeting. With a daily growing, complex political and security situation and wide disparities in the geological, resources and population conditions in central Asian region, problems of some areas with their worsening biological environment, food security and social security have turned more and more acute, with unprecedented challenges posed for the regional security. Hence, more enticing, innovative ideas for cooperation were tabled at the meeting instead of evading relevant thorny issues on hand.

The meeting cited it as the very theme and basis to boost economic growth and better people's living standards in these SCO member nations and gave expressions to their common aspiration.

The meeting, which further embodied the principle of openness for SCO, encourages SCO members to go in for dialogue, exchanges and contacts with other countries or international organizations, if they are willing and ready to do so. And India, Iran, Mongolia, Pakistan and Afghanistan all sent high-ranking official to the PM meeting. Priority consideration will be given to SCO observer nations, namely, Pakistan, Mongolia, Iran and India, and other related countries in the region with respect to economic cooperation under the SCO framework, particularly in the spheres of transport, energy and telecommunication projects, according to the meeting.

The implementation of the agreement represents a common voice of all SCO parties concerned. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao set forth at the meeting a four-point proposal on enhancing the SCO cooperation. He proposed, among other endeavors, to gradually improve the trade and investment environment, to further improve the cooperation mechanism of the SCO member states, to carry out the network projects in some prioritized fields and to step up information exchange among member states. The Chinese side, with its particular heed given to cooperation in its adjacent areas and the providence of assistance to cooperation for their enterprises, suggested convening meetings for senior health and agricultural officials of the SCO nations and the first-ever meeting of health ministers of member nations. Such meetings are expected to play a direct role to spur implementing the agreement and further expand cooperation to the welcome of member nations.

Meanwhile, the meeting has proposed, among others, to intensify the implementation of large-scale investment items, strengthen cooperation in the energy, information, and science and technology spheres, and implement model highway and bridge projects that have already been devised, cope with traffic congestion that has long tormented the central Asian nations and develop railway networks in the region. All these proposed endeavors have indicated the entry of SCO economic cooperation into a new phase to tackle the relevant issues and discern a sound momentum of cooperation with a broad, extensive vista.

By Sun Zhuangzhi, secretary general of the SCO Research Center affiliated to the elite Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, and translated by People's Daily Online

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