annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), set for 10-11 June
in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent, will discuss key regional and global problems.
It also will consider issues of strengthening stability and security in
Central Asia and the expansion of SCO contacts with other multilateral
As the organization has developed and found its own
position in regional and world affairs, the objective of the SCO now is to
complement and coordinate, not to compete, especially in security and economic
issues, analysts say.
REGIONAL SECURITY: COMMON GROUND
experts believe the strongest aspect of the SCO is that it is a convenient place
for dialogue on security in Central Asia, including Afghan factors such as drug
trafficking, terrorism, and organized crime. Currently, the SCO has been invited
to every major international event related to Afghanistan.
Kobrinskaya, an expert at the Russian Global Economy and International Affairs
Institute, told Xinhua on the eve of the summit that common interests inside the
bloc include regional security, mainly in Afghanistan.
The aims of the
member centuries' foreign policies are different, but the threat to their
security originates from a common source, he said.
related to the Afghan situation, stability in Kyrgyzstan will be another hot
issue at the upcoming summit.
Experts expect that the Kyrgyz delegation
will be very active during the summit. The recent incidents in Kyrgyzstan leaves
its leaders no choice but to ask for financial assistance and moral support from
more powerful neighbors.
"When five years ago there was turbulence in
Kyrgyzstan, the SCO helped to downgrade the level of adversity there. Now the
situation in Kyrgyzstan is rather similar to that in 2005. The SCO plays its
role again to decrease the tension on the borders, provide assistance to
Kyrgyzstan," said Leonid Moiseev, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's special
representative for SCO affairs.
ECONOMY: DIFFERENT PATHS
economical areas, the SCO still has much to discuss during the summit and much
to do in the post-crisis times, Moiseev said. "For example, to develop transport
corridors in the region. The SCO is an integral link between Central Asia and
Europe. SCO space will host the highway linking Western Europe and China," he
"The UN and the Asian Development Bank recognized the SCO role in
this project. Every country builds its section of the highway separately, and
the SCO works with communications, pace of building, border issues, types of
Trade and economic cooperation among SCO members has
seen rapid development since the establishment of the bloc. However, experts
also warn that the economic weight and developing paths are quite different
among SCO members.
"On the one hand, people expect some really
breathtaking prospects of the SCO as an economic alliance. On the other hand,
the fact is that economic weights of SCO members are too different," Kobrinskaya
said. "So the six members still need time to try to find common grounds in
economic sphere. I don't expect there will be some real breakthrough in Tashkent
Alexander Lukin, director for the Center for East Asia and SCO
Studies at Moscow State University for International Relations, echoed the
point. "The SCO's development bank of foundation has still been on paper only.
Now the member states consider creation of a special account for the
multipartite projects. Until then, these projects will remain stranded," he
Another possible topic for the Tashkent
summit would be the admission order for new members, "the first time in the
organization's history," Moiseev said.
The bloc, started in 1996 as a
"Shanghai group of five" including China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and
Tajikistan for trans-border cooperation, was joined by Uzbekistan in June 2001.
After that, the organization was renamed to Shanghai Cooperation Organization
and embraced nearly a quarter of the world's population.
countries, including Mongolia, Pakistan, Iran, India, participate in SCO work in
an observer's capacity.
Interest in working with the SCO has been
growing in the world, from the European Union to the United States, Lukin said.
"If the principles will be agreed, the issue of expansion could be mentioned.
Iran and Pakistan, currently observers, applied to join," he said.
"Besides, at the previous summit, new partners for dialogue had been
introduced and given to Belarus and Sri Lanka. It shows the growing interest to
the SCO in the world."