SCO defense ministers meet in Astana to discuss cooperation

09/06/2016 10:34
Asia-Plus
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DUSHANBE, June 9, 2016, Asia-Plus – Defense ministers from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member nations gathered in the Kazakh capital, Astana, for the 13th conference to discuss the promotion of cooperation within the Organization.

The conference participants included defense ministers of China, Kazakhstan, Russia and Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan's Chairman of the State Defense Committee, commander of Uzbekistan's armed forces, SCO secretariat and leaders of regional anti-terrorism organizations.  It was presided over by the Kazakh Defense Minister Imangali Tasmagambetov

Faridoun Mahmadalizoda, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense of Tajikistan, says the conference participants exchanged views on problems of international and regional security, consolidation of efforts to adequately address new challenges and threats within the SCO area of responsibility.

They also discussed preparations for the command-and-staff drill, dubbed Peace Mission 2016, which is expected to be conducted in Kyrgyzstan in September this year, Mahmadalizoda noted. 

China’s Xinhua reports that during the conference, defense leaders summed up the results of cooperation, stressing that as the threat of international terrorism activities continue to rise, the defense departments and armed forces of SCO countries should further enhance cooperation and join hands to safeguard regional security and stability.

The conference reportedly resulted in signing of a joint communiqué and other documents.  

After the conference, the SCO defense ministers and high-ranking military officials attended the 3rd international festival of military brass bands of the SCO member nations “Horn of Peace”.

The festival featured seven military bands from Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan.

The bands gave both indoor and outdoor performances, and defense ministers from SCO nations attended the closing ceremony.

The “Horn of Peace” festival, a signature event for the SCO, was first held in China in 2014 and then in Russia in 2015.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization currently has six full members -- China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.  Afghanistan, Belarus, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan are six observer states, and SCO’s dialogue partners include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Turkey.

The Organization’s six full members account for 60% of the land mass of Eurasia and its population is a quarter of the world's population.  With observer states included, its affiliates account for about half of the world's population.

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