SCO TO ACHIEVE FREE MOVEMENT OF GOODS, CAPITALS, TECHNOLOGIES, SERVICES WITHIN NEXT 20 YEARS

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BEIJING, August 18 (RIA Novosti) - In the next 20 years the member-countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will achieve free movement of goods, capitals, technologies and services in the SCO region, SCO Executive Secretary Zhang Deguang said in Beijing.

Addressing the international seminar of representatives of ten countries, he said that the SCO members (China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) will actively cooperate also in solving security problems, including the fight against terrorism and extremism.

At the same time Zhang Deguang underscored that the SCO would never be a military bloc and that it did not intend to return to the Cold War times.

According to him, the organization will also focus on economic cooperation. Preparations for the meeting of the SCO premiers in September in the Kyrghyz capital of Bishkek are underway, he reported.

Another speaker at the seminar, Xiong Guangkai, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Chinese Armed Forces, said that the SCO members had agreed on further consolidation of cooperation, friendship and good-neighborliness. From the very beginning, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, he underscored, has built a firm foundation for its successful development, relying on principles of friendly cooperation and joint development.

The SCO international seminar is a new model of regional cooperation. It has been organized by the Chinese Association for International Strategic Studies and by the German Conrad Adenauer Fund. It was attended by representatives of six SCO countries and by scientists, including political scientists, from Germany, Mongolia and other countries.

The seminar closed on Wednesday.

The SCO is a sub-regional international organization consisting of six members: Kazakhstan, China, Kyrghyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. These countries account for 61% of Eurasian territory and for a fourth of the Earth's population. English and Chinese are the official working languages. The headquarters of the Organization is located in Beijing.

The SCO was preceded by the Shanghai Group of Five Countries (Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrghyzstan, China and Tajikistan), which was formed by the Agreement on Confidence-Building Measures in the military sphere in the border area (1996) and the Agreement on Mutual Arms Reductions in the border area (1997). The rapprochement between these countries was caused by a threat to their security on the part of Afghanistan, the main source of instability in Central Asia at that period. The first agreement was signed in Shanghai, hence the Shanghai Group -5.

At their meeting in Shanghai on June 14-15, 2001 the six leaders announced the formation of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The Declaration adopted at that summit proclaimed the main aims of the SCO: to maintain and ensure peace, security and stability in Central Asia and also to develop cooperation in political, trade, economic, scientific, technological, cultural, educational, energy, transport, ecological and other spheres.

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