SCO reaffirms commitment to territorial integrity of states

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Moscow, Aug 28 (UNI) The joint declaration adopted today at the summit of the leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, has reaffirmed commitment to the territorial integrity of states and rejected the use of force in resolving regional conflicts.

It also expressed concern over tensions in South Ossetia and extended support for Russia's peacemaking and cooperation in the region.

''The Presidents reaffirmed their commitment to the principles of respect for historic and cultural traditions of every country and efforts aimed at preserving the unity of a state and its territorial integrity,'' the declaration said.

''Placing the emphasis exclusively on the use of force has no prospects and hinders a comprehensive settlement of local conflicts; an all-embracing resolution of the existing problems is possible only through absolute recognition of interests of all parties involved in the negotiating process rather than through their isolation,'' it said.

''The heads of state are convinced that security of one state cannot be ensured at the expense of others, and international security should be based on principles of trust, mutual benefit, equality, and cooperation,'' the declaration noted.

The declaration is a direct response to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's call to support Russia's role in the Abkhazia and South Ossetia independence dispute.

Speaking at the SCO summit, Mr Medvedev thanked the SCO members for their understanding and objective evaluation of Russia's peacekeeping mission.

The SCO includes Russia, China and four Central Asian States of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzebekistan. Mongolia, India, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan have observer status.

''Unfortunately, we have to state that attempts are being made to secure certain interests using force, not the principles of strict observance of international law and denial of confrontational bloc thinking,'' Mr Medvedev said in his speech at the summit.

''A fine example of such irresponsible criminal actions is Georgia's aggression against South Ossetia. It is well-known who connived with the Georgian authorities and even incited them, pursuing their own profit. Such behaviour is unacceptable and should be stopped,'' he said.

''We are confident that the position of SCO member states will produce an appropriate resonance through the international community, and I hope this will give a serious signal to those who are trying to justify the aggression that was committed,'' Mr Medvedev added.

UNI XC SKB HT1732

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