BISHKEK (Kyrgyzstan), August 16 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's president proposed to leaders of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) countries at a summit in Kyrgyzstan Thursday holding regular counter-terrorism exercises, similar to the drills now underway in Russia.
The six countries' armed forces have been taking part in the Peace Mission 2007 exercises in Russia's south Urals since August 9. Leaders of the SCO member states are expected to attend the final day of drills Friday.
Vladimir Putin told the SCO Council of Heads of State in Bishkek, "As you know, the exercises are being conducted successfully, and are demonstrating growing technical potential and a good coordination level among units. It is therefore worth considering regularly holding such exercises on the territories of different Shanghai Cooperation Organization countries."
The council's meeting followed closed talks between SCO leaders. The bloc, originally set up for cooperation on security issues, comprises Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and has Iran, India, Pakistan and Mongolia as observers. Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov and Afghan President Hamid Karzai are also attending summit meetings in the ex-Soviet country as guests.
The day before the summit, several bilateral meetings were held, including talks between Chinese President Hu Jintao and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and a meeting between Putin and the summit's host, Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.
Addressing the leaders of the organization, set up 11 years ago and seen by many as a counterbalance to U.S. influence in the region, the Russian leader said the world needed a multi-polar system for international security, and spoke out against attempts by any one nation to take global security into their own hands.
"Russia, like other SCO states, favors strengthening the multi-polar international system providing equal security and development potential for all countries."
"Any attempts to solve global and regional problems unilaterally have no future," he said.
In advance of the summit in the mountainous Central Asian republic, attended by around 1,500 foreign diplomats and journalists, unprecedented security measures were put in place. From Monday Bishkek's only airport, Manas, was closed to all flights except those of delegations. Planes from the United States military base, located at the airport since 2001, were also banned from flying.
More than 5,000 police were deployed to guard the event, and guard helicopters hovered over the leaders' vehicles as they passed through the city. All private taxis in Bishkek have been temporarily banned, and all alcoholic drinks have been removed from shelves of shops and kiosks in the city's main thoroughfares. Residents of other Kyrgyz cities have been refused entry to the capital since August 10.