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Post-Soviet security bloc to hold int. conference on Afghanistan

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The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will convene an international conference on Afghanistan in late March, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday.
MOSCOW, January 23 (RIA Novosti) - The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will convene an international conference on Afghanistan in late March, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

No concrete date was announced for the conference.

Alexei Borodavkin, a Russian deputy foreign minister, met with the Afghan ambassador to Russia, Zalmai Aziz, on Friday. The sides pledged to continue developing Russian-Afghan cooperation in politics, trade and economics, as well as in the humanitarian sphere.

The parties also noted the importance of the SCO, widely seen as a counterweight to NATO's influence in Eurasia, in "streamlining effective regional cooperation in countering the terrorist and drugs threat coming from Afghanistan," the ministry said.

The SCO comprises Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. The group primarily addresses security issues, but has recently moved to embrace economic and energy projects.

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