(AsiaNews) - The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), a group that includes
China, Russia and four Central Asian nations, has granted Afghanistan observer
status. Beijing has also pledged immediate aid to Kabul and much more once NATO
troops leave the country in 2014. The group has also expressed its opposition
to any use of force against Iran, which already has observer status in the
two-day meeting in the Chinese capital, which ended yesterday, saw the participation
of Turkey as a "partner in dialogue". With the Eurasian country, SCO now
embrace countries from the Mediterranean to the Pacific Ocean. In addition to Russia
and China, SCO includes Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. Iran,
India, Pakistan and Mongolia are observers.
as a security community to fight terrorism, the organisation is now evolving
into an area of economic cooperation. Yesterday, China offered a US$ 10 billion
loan for economic development to help member states establish railway,
telecommunications and energy pipeline links. Member countries have also agreed
to boost mutual economic relations.
Afghanistan, acceptance by SCO is an economic and political windfall. President
Hu Jintao told Afghan President Karzai that China would provide "sincere
and selfless help" to the beleaguered country, including 150 million yuan
(US$ 24 million) in aid this year for infrastructure and scholarships.
two signed a strategic partnership agreement, under which China said it would
encourage Chinese investment.
NATO planning to pull out from Afghanistan in 2014, China is getting edgy over
possible chaos in its western neighbour, as well as an increase in the opium
trade and fundamentalism infiltration, especially in Xinjiang.
said that SCO must play a greater in Afghanistan, but Russia excluded any
military presence in the country.
the summit, the Chinese leader met his Iranian counterpart, President Mahmud
Ahmadinejad. During their talks, Hu asked him to be "pragmatic and flexible" in
ongoing nuclear talks.
18-19 June, Moscow will host a new round of talks between Iran and the 5+1
group (United States Russia, Great Britain, France, China and Germany) to stop
Tehran from developing a programme they suspect might include a nuclear
an agreement, new and tougher financial and trade sanctions will come into effect
on 1 July.
has always said that its nuclear programme does not have a military component.
Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency Ali Asghar Soltanieh recently
announced that his government is ready to counter any fear.
are ready," he said, "to remove all the ambiguities and prove to the whole
world that our nuclear activities are exclusive[ly] for peaceful purposes".
a final statement, SCO said that the use of force against Iran because of
concerns about its nuclear programme would be unacceptable and would lead to
unpredictable circumstances in the region and the world.