Author: Vitaly Vorobiev
On June 14-15, 2001, a meeting of the heads of six states - Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan - was held in Shanghai (PRC). Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin took an active part in this meeting as the head of a very dignified delegation. The meeting was of immense international significance, primarily since the heads of the states announced the creation of a new regional association for developing multilateral cooperation in various fields - the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The six leaders signed a Declaration to this effect. It set forth the main guiding points for building the new organization, which are to be translated into the legal language of the basic founding document, the Charter, before the next summit meeting in St. Petersburg in June 2002.
A Convention on Fighting Terrorism, Separatism, and Extremism was also signed. This document, which is largely innovative in content and contains practical solutions, creates the legal foundation for collectively opposing the violent manifestations of threats and challenges common to all countries and for completing the work already begun to establish an SCO Anti-Terrorist Structure in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) as a permanent agency for coordinating and providing information on the necessary undertakings and decisions.
The atmosphere at the meeting and the speeches made by the supreme leaders of the six countries showed beyond all measure of a doubt that, first, this organization did not arise out of the blue, but was the outcome of an entire series of major steps and elaborations. Second, its establishment is borne of the goodwill, conscious striving and desire to jointly promote creative processes in Central Asia and reinforce good- neighborly relations, benevolence, and trust in the region. Third, by joining together and acting in harmony with each other, the member states get a great opportunity to make additional use of their own potential to raise the quality and improve the standard of living of their citizens.
Vitaly Vorobiev, the Russian President's special representative on The Shanghai Five, Ambassador at Large.
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