Wednesday, 23 May 2012 12:54
BEIJING: President Asif Ali Zardari will attend the upcoming summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a senior Chinese diplomat said here Wednesday.
Besides leaders of the member states, Presidents of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran are also attending the summit slated for June 6-7 in Beijing, said Deputy Foreign Minister Cheng Gaoping at a press conference.
Founded in 2001, the SCO groups China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, while Mongolia, Pakistan, Iran and India are observer states in the fold. Belarus and Sri Lanka became SCO dialogue partners in 2010.
China is hosting the summit for the third time since its inception, Cheng said.
He said that the summit will consider requests from Afghanistan as observer and Turkey as dialogue partner in the SCO.
To a question, he said that SCO will work together with the United Nations to play a more active role in addressing Afghanistan issues.
The 12th Meeting of the Council of Heads of Member States of the SCO will be held in Beijing on June 6-7. Afghan President Hamid Karzai will attend the meeting as a guest.
"The SCO has been cooperating closely with the Afghan side to address the issues," he said adding that SCO has established a liaison group with Afghanistan and held six rounds of deputy-foreign-minister-level consultations on the issues.
The SCO supports Afghanistan's efforts to realize self-governance and ethnic reconciliation, Cheng added.
"The security and stability of Afghanistan bordering the region of SCO states is closely related to the affairs of SCO members. And Turkey as an important country in this region has good ties with SCO members. The admission of the two countries will help them and SCO states to jointly counter terrorism, separatism and extremism as well as drug trafficking and cross-border crime." Cheng says.
Cheng Guoping said that while the SCO welcomes new applicants to the group, any application has to get the full support of the organization.
Since its establishment, SCO members have unanimously agreed to jointly seek stability, cooperation and development. Moreover, the SCO is characterized by its "Shanghai Spirit", which advocates mutual trust, mutual benefits, equality, respect for cultural diversity and common development. " Cheng explained.
Copyright APP (Associated Press of Pakistan), 2012