Interview: Kazakh deputy FM hails SCO role in global affairs

June 12. Xinhua.  ASTANA

Interview: Kazakh deputy FM hails SCO role in global affairsThe Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a relatively young alliance but it has matured quickly and now is a key player in international affairs, says a Kazakh official.

Deputy Foreign Minister Nurian Yermekbayev said in a recent interview with Xinhua and other Chinese media that the SCO, formed in 2001, also plays an important role in promoting regional peace and stability.

Kazakhstan, the minister said, attaches great importance to cooperation within the SCO framework, and backs its efforts to promote security, political stability and sustainable economic development in Eurasia.

Yermekbayev said the world is now experiencing a large scale economic crisis. Because of that, he said, countries around the world, including those in the SCO, are seeking to create a new model of cooperation in order to stabilize their economies.

Economic cooperation, Yermekbayev said, is among the ultimate goals of SCO’s development. The SCO member states – China, Russia and the Central Asian nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – are keen to develop multilateral trade and economic cooperation, he said.

The SCO also includes Mongolia, India, Pakistan and Iran as observers.

The SCO member states, despite differences in social systems and economies, are working hard to develop coordinated measures to fight the current crisis and secure social stability and economic growth, the minister said.

He said it is of strategic significance to establish a single energy market and common transportation corridor within the SCO.

Yermekbayev urged the SCO Entrepreneurs Committee and the SCO Bank Syndicate to play an even bigger role in promoting economic and trade cooperation among the member states.

He said Kazakhstan believes the SCO can effectively coordinate the fiscal and economic policies of its member states and will play a key role in promoting regional social development and economic growth.

The SCO is also expanding its cooperation with other regional and international organizations, Yermekbayev said.

The SCO has obtained UN observer status, and established formal liaisons with many organizations, including ASEAN, the Eurasian Economic Community, the Commonwealth of Independent States, and the United Nations Development Program, he said.

He said that the SCO has realized the complexity of the Afghanistan issue and the threats it may pose to the Central Asian region. At a special meeting in Moscow at the end of March, the SCO expressed concern over the security situation in Afghanistan and reached consensus on the issue.

The SCO will strengthen its efforts to build an “anti-terrorist security belt” around Afghanistan,

Yermekbayev said, adding that “We believe the SCO could play an important role in defusing tension in Afghanistan.”

The ninth SCO annual summit will be held on June 15 in Yekaterinburg, Russia. Among other topics, the members are expected to discuss measures dealing with the economic downturn.