Russian parliament ratifies long-term SCO Treaty

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Moscow, May 23 (UNI) The State Duma, the lower house of Russian parliament, today ratified the treaty on long-term cooperation between member-states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

The treaty was signed in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan's capital, at a meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State in August 2007.

It aimed at developing strategic partnership relations between member-states to strengthen peace, security and stability, expand economic cooperation, and improve contracts in culture, education, healthcare and science.

The regional group includes Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan, and deals mainly with the security issues. Recently it has expanded its activities to embrace various economic and social projects.

Mongolia, India, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan have observer status in the SCO. Iran and Pakistan have also been lobbying for full membership of the group, which has imposed moratorium for sometime on accepting full membership.

The SCO Council of Heads of State will hold a regular meeting in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, in August this year.

The documents for the summit in Dushanbe are being prepared, and the final agenda will be approved in Tajikistan at a meeting of SCO foreign ministers in July, SCO Secretary General Bolat Nurgaliyev said.

UNI XC RJ GC1802

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