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    SHANGHAI SIX TAKES SHAPE

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    MOSCOW, April 23 (RIA Novosti) - Organisationally, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation - Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan - has actually taken shape, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at the sitting of the Foreign Ministerial Council of the SCO member states. "Our meeting is for the first time taking place when the stage of the SCO organisational development is actually over and its standing organs have set to - the SCO secretariat in Beijing and the executive committee of the Tashkent Regional Antiterrorist Structure", Lavrov said.

    "Apart form putting into operation the TRAS secretariat and the executive committee, other important steps have been made to realise the instructions of the Moscow summit (May 2003)", the Russian foreign minister said.

    For instance, the long-term programme of multilateral trade-economic cooperation has been approved, SCO 2004 budget adopted, agreement on cooperation against illegal drug traffic and a set of documents ensuring continuous work of the SCO and confirming its open nature have been signed. And also "the establishment of contacts with international organisations has begun", Sergei Lavrov said.

    "All this is to encourage the SCO participants to make the Tashkent summit (June 2004) open a new stage, when focus will be on the development of practical, coordinated interaction for the good of the peoples of our countries", Lavrov said.

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