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Afghanistan is ready to cooperate with SCO - 19.8.2007
Omar Nessar (Photo:

Afghanistan is ready to cooperate with SCOAnother two-day summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization ended in Bishkek on the 17th of August. The leaders of SCO that embraces Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan arrived in the Kyrgyz capital. Among the other participants were Iranian and Mongolian Presidents and senior officials from India and Pakistan as the representatives of the countries holding observer status and the Presidents of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan as honourary guests. In all the presidents from ten countries attended the summit. The SCO leaders made no attempts to declare that the organization was counterbalancing NATO. However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow and Beijing would see eye to eye in the deployment of the US missile defence system

Several experts believe the situation in Afghanistan was the key topic on the summit’s agenda. “The situation in Afghanistan was the corner-stone of the SCO summit in the Kyrgyz capital”, said Toktogul Kakchekeev, executive director of the Association of Political Scientists of Kyrgyzstan. “Almost all heads of state of the SCO offered assistance to Afghanistan in its reconstruction and demilitarization and re-orienting farmers who grow poppy and other cultures”, noted the political scientist.

Addressing to the summit meeting Afghan President Hamid Karzai called on the SCO to give priority to fighting against drug trafficking in its work and expressed readiness to promote cooperation with the organization in this area and fighting terrorism. “We are well aware that the drug issue has negative consequences for all countries in the region ... There is a need for developing a real plan to fight against this phenomenon”, said Hamid Karzai. The Afghan leader urged the participants of the summit to work out a real regional plan to fight against the threat posed by narcotics. According to his opinion, an international concept in this area could pave the way for solving the drug trafficking issue. “The Afghan government considers its duty to fight against the threat posed by narcotics”, said Hamid Karzai.

Uzbek President Islam Karimov expressed concern over the militarization of Afghanistan. He urged the international community to switch over to the resolution of social and economic issues. “We are alarmed by the situation in Afghanistan and growth in drug production and trafficking. Stability in Afghanistan has to be found in the resolution of internal social issues rather than further militarization of the country”, said Islam Karimov. According to the Uzbek President, developments in Afghanistan affect the situation in Central Asia as a whole.

Kazakh leader Nursultan Nazarbaev announced that his country would be involved in humanitarian projects in Afghanistan. According to Nursultan Nazarbaev, Kazakhstan is interested in stabilization of the situation in Afghanistan. He reminded that Kazakhstan had been working out a special programme supporting Afghanistan that provides for training graduates in several areas, the construction of facilities and rendering humanitarian aid. Kazakh leader also said that businessmen in the country were seriously interested in making investment in mutually beneficial projects on the Afghan territory.

Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon put forward an initiative on holding an international conference next year on economic cooperation with Afghanistan. He believes the conference could work out concrete proposals and recommend them to the SCO member countries and the nations that enjoy its observer status so that they could be involved in the realization of projects designed to reconstruct the Afghan economy. Addressing to the leaders of Shanghai Cooperation Organization Tajik President said: “Our common interest in the reconstruction of the Afghan economy has to be backed by concrete deeds so that friendly Afghanistan becomes a stable and developing state that guarantees its economic growth”.

The Tajik President agreed with his Russian counterpart who proposed to hold a special conference of the SCO devoted to Afghanistan. Vladimir Putin said: “Russia believes that all SCO member states are keen on stability in Afghanistan. In view of this it would have been expedient to discuss the possibility of rendering assistance by these countries to the development of Afghanistan at the conference”.

Later, Vladimir Putin said Russia would do its best to bring the situation in Afghanistan to normal at his meeting with Hamid Karzai. The Russian President congratulated his Afghan counterpart upon the forthcoming holiday, Independence Day. Vladimir Putin noted: “Afghanistan marks its national holiday, Independence Day shortly. I would like to congratulate you, other leaders of the country and the Afghan people as a whole on this holiday, and wish success and all the best. Hamid Karzai, on his part expressed gratitude for writing off the Afghan debt to the former Soviet Union.

The two leaders voiced in support for promoting economic relations. “We will develop not only political contacts but also economic ties”, said Vladimir Putin. Hamid Karzai agreed with him and expressed hope: “It is important, bearing in mind the positive experience in promoting cooperation, we will achieve success”.

Kyrgyzstan is ready to be actively involved in the reconstruction of infrastructure and economy. Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev stated this at a meeting with his Afghan counterpart. “Kyrgyzstan is ready to give all kinds of assistance to Afghanistan in the reconstruction of its economy, including the delivery of humanitarian aid”, said K. Bakiev.

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