SCO ‘active’ in seeking solution for Afghan security problems

By Sun Xiaob Source:Global Times Published: 2014-2-14 0:38:02

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has been instrumental in international efforts to peacefully solve security issues in Afghanistan, SCO Secretary-General Dmitry Mezentsev said Thursday in Beijing.

A peaceful solution can only succeed with the UN playing a major role, and the SCO has been part of international efforts, Mezentsev told reporters

"The SCO is not supposed to shoulder the responsibilities and duties of NATO in this regard, but this does not mean an evasion of the issue as the organization has actively participated in international efforts to seek desirable solutions to Afghanistan's security issues," he said. .

Afghanistan gained SCO observer status upon the decision of SCO heads of state in 2012, which shows the importance the organization places on the nation. 

The withdrawal of NATO-led troops from the country, which will be carried out later this year, has triggered widespread concern about the possibilities of worsening security and terrorism.

Currently there are 37,500 US troops and 19,000 NATO-led troops in Afghanistan. The US intends to leave around 10,000 troops after 2014.

Under the auspices of the SCO unofficial forum (the so called second-track mechanism) a roundtable meeting will take place this year in Dushanbe, Tajikistan that enables scholars and experts to discuss the security issue. The SCO always has had zero tolerance to terrorism, said Mezentsev.

Mezentsev also hailed the Silk Road economic belt put forward by President Xi Jinping during a visit to Kazakhstan in September 2013.

This proposal signals that President Xi is eyeing the future development of the region and improved cooperation between countries, Mezentsev said. He noted that economic experts from the six member states should study the proposal seriously and figure out a workable mechanism for cooperation.

In this process, the SCO  should strive to combine both the interests of SCO member states and of the organization as a whole, Mezentsev noted.

The SCO was founded in 2001 in Shanghai for security cooperation. It currently has six member states, and is characterized by a multifaceted interactions, which include economic trade, science and people-to-people exchanges.

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