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Shanghai Cooperation Organization Seeks to Expand Energy and Security Influence

16 August 2007

The six-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization has concluded its one-day summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, amid calls from two of its energy-rich members for the creation of an Asian energy club. VOA correspondent Peter Fedynsky reports, from the Kyrgyz capital, the summit's call for a multilateral approach to global problems is an indirect reaction to American influence, around the world.

Summit leaders highlighted the potential of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to address such common problems as terrorism and drug trafficking and to gain mutual advantage on matters of regional security and energy. The presidents of oil-rich Russia and Kazakhstan, Vladimir Putin and Nursultan Nazarbayev, called for expanded energy ties among member states. Mr. Nazarbayev says the pipeline network that connects Russia, Kazakhstan, Central Asia and China can serve basis for a common SCO energy market.

The Kazakh leader says meetings of SCO energy ministers and those of observer states should work as what he calls "an energy club," - a basic element of an Asian energy strategy."

Russian President Putin used the term "energy club" as well. Mr. Putin also highlighted the possibility of linking European and Asian trade corridors and urged development of information technologies among the member states. In addition, he called for the establishment of appropriate financial institutions. In an indirect-but-clear reference to American influence around the globe, Mr. Putin again called for the establishment of a multi-polar world.

Mr. Putin says a multi-polar international system would guarantee equal security and development potential for all countries. The Russian leader says a 'go-it-alone' approach to global and regional problems has no future.

The multilateral approach is written into the so-called Bishkek Declaration. Much of the document signed by leaders of the SCO nations is devoted to security, which is broadly interpreted as a sound global economy, a reduction in poverty, as well as economic, ecological and energy security.

The Bishkek Declaration also highlights the need to fight terrorism and singles out the negative regional influence of Afghanistan's illegal drug trade. Afghan President Hamid Karzai, an invited SCO guest, acknowledged the problem in his remarks to summit leaders.

Also invited was Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinijad. He says he is prepared to organize a meeting of SCO oil ministers to discuss energy cooperation.

Representatives of India, Pakistan, Mongolia and Turkmenistan were present at the summit/ as observers.

After their formal summit, SCO leaders embarked on a trip to Chelyabinsk, Russia, to observe military maneuvers by armed forces of member states.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization was established in 2001. Its 2008 summit is scheduled to take place in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

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