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SCO Summit to Kick Off Thursday in Russia's City of Ufa

© BRICS/SCO Photohost / Go to the photo bankUfa in anticipation of SCO and BRICS summits
Ufa in anticipation of SCO and BRICS summits - Sputnik International
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Russia's city of Ufa is hosting the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit beginning Thursday.

UFA (Sputnik), Anastasia Levchenko, Daria Chernyshova – The SCO comprises China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India, Pakistan, Iran, Mongolia and Afghanistan have observer status in the organization, while Turkey, Sri Lanka and Belarus are dialogue partners.

Russian President Vladimir Putin - Sputnik International
Putin Talks Energy, Investment, Trade at Meetings With BRICS, SCO Leaders

The expansion of the SCO is expected to be the main issue at the negotiating table during the Ufa summit. India and Pakistan applied for SCO membership in September 2014. Iran is a candidate for a full-fledged SCO membership, but this issue is pending the outcome of the currently ongoing nuclear talks.

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the SCO would begin the process of integrating India into the organization.

President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin meets with President of the Federative Republic of Brazil Dilma Rousseff - Sputnik International
Putin: Russia, Brazil to Track Space Junk With GLONASS Navigation System
Although SCO mainly focuses on security cooperation, the economic agenda is equally important. Another issue to be discussed during the summit in Ufa is the integration of China’s Silk Road Economic Belt and the Eurasian Economic Union.

The long-debated issue of the creation of an SCO Development Bank may be raised, but given the launch of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and BRICS New Development Bank, the subject has less relevance this year.

Traditional security-related questions, such as combating drug trafficking and extremism in the region, are on the summit’s agenda. A new aspect is finding ways to counter the Islamic State militant group.

Delegates of the countries members of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) sign the creation of their new development bank during the 6th BRICS Summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, on July 15, 2014 - Sputnik International
BRICS Bank to Become More Important for Russia Than World Bank

The SCO meeting coincides with the BRICS summit that began on Wednesday in the same city.

The last time the summits of both organizations coincided was in 2009 in Russia's city of Yekaterinburg.

The summits will be attended by the member heads of state, as well as many high ranking officials.

For the coverage of the summits in social networks please use the following hashtags #SCO #BRICS #SCO2015 #BRICS2015 #Ufa2015.

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