Russia does not seek hegemony in SCO : Putin

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Moscow, Oct 31 (UNI) Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has denied that Russia is seeking hegemony in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) regional group.

''There is no question of hegemony. On the contrary, we are seeking means of guaranteeing the interests of all participants in the organisation,'' Mr Putin told reporters after the SCO meeting in Kazakh capital Astana.

He said each SCO member-state has unique competitive advantages on international markets.

''In this sense the organisation is doubly needed, as we are going through a very difficult process in international finances and the world economy,'' RIA Novosti quoted Mr Putin as saying.

He said the SCO , must serve the interests of both its smaller and larger members. The regional group includes Russia, China, and four Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

Mongolia, India, Iran and Pakistan have observer status in the SCO. The group primarily addresses security issues, but has recently moved to embrace economic and energy projects.

UNI XC ARB AS1903

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