Updated 2:28 p.m. Moscow Time
DUSHANBE, September 12 (RIA Novosti) – The heads of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states said in a joint statement Friday that negotiations on Ukrainian reconciliation should continue until the crisis is completely resolved.
"The heads of state favor the soonest restoration of peace in Ukraine and continuation of negotiations in order to completely settle the crisis in the country," SCO leaders said in the statement.
The sides welcome the Minsk protocol signed on September 5 after consultations of the trilateral Contact Group on the Ukrainian crisis – Russia, Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe – aimed at "implementing the Ukrainian president's peace plan and the initiatives of the Russian president."
The participants of the Contact Group signed a 12-point protocol that entails a ceasefire as well as the adoption by Ukraine of a law on special status for the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in addition to holding early elections.
The protocol was signed two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin outlined a seven-point plan for the settlement of the crisis in Ukraine, calling on Kiev to withdraw its troops from the country's southeastern regions and the militia to cease its advance.
The plan also included proposals for an international monitoring force, the establishment of a humanitarian corridor, a ban on the use of combat aircraft over urban areas, an exchange of prisoners in an "all for all" formula and direct access for repair crews to destroyed infrastructure in the war-ravaged areas.
SCO is a Eurasian political, economic and military organization founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan are observer members.