Russia: Central Asian SCO members discuss priorities at Ufa summit

The leaders of the Central-Asian countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan discussed the group's priorities at the Council of Heads of State of the SCO meeting in Ufa, Friday. Speaking at the 15th meeting of the organisation, Kyrgyzstani President Almazbek Atambayev addressed the news that India and Pakistan were set to join the SCO, which he thinks will create new political and economic conditions that the SCO will need to adapt to. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said that "in light of current world affairs, the SCO needs to remain a warrant of stability, security, prosperity in the region. Without any exaggeration we're undergoing a historic process and we should ensure the unity and viability of the Shanghai spirit." The President of Kyrgyzstan, Islam Karimov warned the delegates and heads of state to avoid "bloc-related thinking" and dismissed the option of turning the SCO into a political-military alliance. However, security in the region plays a major role for the work of the organisation. Emomali Rahmon, president of Tajikistan, urged all members to coordinate their efforts in order to properly realise the Shanghai Convention on Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism. The 15th meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO takes place on July 9 and 10 in Ufa and partially coincides with a meeting of the BRICS leaders.