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11 Jun, 2010 07:23

Russia discusses security and war on drugs with Shanghai partners

President Medvedev is in Uzbekistan attending a two-day summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Kyrgyzstan’s unrest and Afghan drug trafficking are among the issues at the top of the agenda.

Moscow is urging for measures to tackle the drug problem – which has become a global threat – to be taken. Addressing the meeting in the Uzbek capital Tashkent on Friday, President Dmitry Medvedev suggested that the SCO should adopt an anti-drug trafficking strategy for 2011-2016 and a program for its fulfillment.

The world recognizes the authority of the SCO in fighting what our Chinese partners call ‘three powers of evil’: terrorism, extremism and separatism. I would like to emphasize the matter of fighting drug trafficking,” he said. “It is obvious that it has long become a strong source of support for international terrorism, and this is a universal principle. The flow of opium and heroine is a grave danger; it is a global threat. And the measures we take against it should also be global.”

The Russian leader also said he believes that the Shanghai Convention on Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism – which was signed at the summit in Yekaterinburg last year– should come into force as soon as possible.

SCO to send observers to Kyrgyzstan

The Shanghai bloc will send its observers to Kyrgyzstan to monitor the referendum on the country’s new constitution as well as the situation in general, Medvedev said.

“It is important to ensure the legal scenario of the development of statehood in Kyrgyzstan. That is why we believe it would be right to send the SCO observers mission to the June 27 referendum on the new constitution and to further conduct a monitoring of the processes underway in Kyrgyzstan,” the president said.

The situation in the Central Asian republic has remained fragile since the mass revolt in April this year which led to the overthrow of the then-president Kurmanbek Bakiyev. A new wave of violence in Southern Kyrgyz city of Osh led to at least 17 people killed on Thursday night.

Dmitry Medvedev said that the Shanghai group “could not stay indifferent to the events in Kyrgyzstan, the SCO reaction was prompt and clear, and our countries provided help to the Kyrgyz people without delay.”

The current summit focused on the situation in republic and “further assistance to Kyrgyzstan by the SCO,” he said as quoted by Interfax. “This work will be conducted by authorized agencies.”

“Kyrgyzstan is one of the SCO founders, our ally and close partner,” Medvedev added. “We are sincerely interested in seeing Kyrgyzstan overcome the stage of internal shocks as soon as possible and fulfill the task of forming a new government capable of tackling the pressing issues of socio-economic development,” he said.

Shanghai group’s doors are open – Medvedev

The leaders of the SCO member-states have approved the regulations for admitting new members to the organization.

According to Dmitry Medvedev this “important internal corporate document” confirms the open nature of the regional bloc and creates “pre-conditions for extending the borders of the SCO.”

The Russian head of state expressed the hope that “the practical, financial and administrative aspects of the process of admitting new members will be quickly finalized on the basis of the principle of consensus in the interests of all SCO members.”

Uzbek President Islam Karimov underlined that the approval of the document does not mean that current observer states will automatically become the SCO member-states. The regulations, he said, set a legal framework for joining the Shanghai group.

The creation of the regional bloc, SCO, was proclaimed on June 15, 2001, in Shanghai. It brings together Russia, China and four former Soviet republics in Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Mongolia, Pakistan, India and Iran currently act as observers.

A number of high-ranking guests have been invited to attend the summit in Tashkent, among them the President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai, whom Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has met for bilateral talks.

On the sidelines of the summit

Ahead of the main events of the summit, Medvedev held a meeting with his Uzbek counterpart.

The Russian head of state has also held talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao. This is the third time the two leaders have met each other in 2010 and both presidents expressed their satisfaction over the frequency of meetings.

Medvedev noted that the summit is an opportunity to discuss a whole range of regional problems that have arisen recently and over which Russia and China are holding a direct dialogue.

In his turn, the Chinese president suggested discussing the issues connected with Dmitry Medvedev’s upcoming visit to China, due to take place in September.

“We have to work together to achieve even better results in such areas as trade, energy, military technology and interregional cooperation,” said Hu Jintao.