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SCO is strategic choice for members

(Xinhua)

16:18, June 05, 2012

ALMATY - The establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in 2001 was an important strategic choice for its member states, Kazakhstan's Foreign Minister Yerzhan Kazykhanov has said.

In a recent interview with Xinhua, Kazykhanov said the SCO members jointly created the bloc with a common aspiration to enhance their good neighborly ties and mutually beneficial cooperation, as well as to safeguard regional peace and stability.

The SCO, which groups China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, is to have its 12th summit in Beijing on June 6-7.

Safeguarding regional peace and stability is one of the urgent tasks for the SCO, said the Kazakh minister, adding that with concerted efforts, the bloc is now fully capable of dealing with all sorts of challenges and threats.

The SCO members have in the past 11 years developed a legal norm and a coordination mechanism, which make it possible for them to carry out anti-terror joint military exercises and to provide security for major political or sports events in fellow member countries, Kazykhanov said.

Despite the remarkable achievements attained by the SCO, the region still faces grim challenges from "the three evil forces" of terrorism, extremism and separatism, and other concerns also include the trafficking of drugs and weapons, cyber and financial crimes, illegal immigration, both natural and engineering disasters and epidemic diseases, among others, he said.

Kazykhanov noted that the Internet, which plays an important role in spreading knowledge and useful information, has also been used as a tool by the three evil forces to spread their ideas.

To cope with this phenomenon, the SCO should set up a police unit within the SCO framework to crack down on Internet-based crimes, he said.

He also advised the bloc to sign a cooperation deal to crack down on illegal immigrants so as to effectively block the channel through which terrorists, drug smugglers and perpetrators of other crimes infiltrate border lines in the region.

In regard to the prevention of disasters and rescue efforts, he said the SCO should have its own disaster coordination center so that all resources could be mobilized in time of need.

The SCO, which has underlined closer trade and economic cooperation among member states as one of its key tasks, should also make more efforts to boost the profiles of such in-house institutions as the Entrepreneurs Committee and the Inter-bank Association, Kazykhanov said, adding that the two bodies should play more active roles in bilateral and multi-lateral economic programs.

To develop agricultural cooperation is another pressing task for the SCO, said the minister, who suggested the member countries should take concrete measures to ensure food security and expand the trade of farm products.

He also called on the members to increase exchanges on science and technology, saying they should work out a cooperation plan on innovative development and sign inter-governmental cooperative deals on new technologies.

He believed the most promising areas for such cooperation are in pharmacy, bio-nano technology, water conservation and energy efficiency technologies, chemistry, exploitation of energy resources and so on.

With a successful track record in promoting cooperation between member states, the SCO should bring its status as a leading regional body into full play and help member states achieve a new economic growth in the future, Kazykhanov said。

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