Russia, China to bear greater budget burden

Russia and China will bear the greater budget burden as members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), which also involves Kazakhstan, Kyrghyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The SCO budget was adopted at Friday's meeting of the member-countries' foreign ministers in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

The greatest shares in the SCO budget will fall on Russia and China, Alexander Ivanov, director of the Russian foreign ministry's Asia department, told RIA Novosti.

The budgetary funds will be spent basically on the SCO secretariat in Beijing and the headquarters of the SCO regional anti-terrorist body in Tashkent, according to Mr Ivanov.

Besides, a small sum has been earmarked for contingencies.

When opening the Tashkent meeting, the host country's Foreign Minister Sadyk Safayev said that a recent meeting of foreign ministers "adopted this meeting's agenda and no amendments were introduced to it since then." This meeting's objective is to work out mechanisms that will ensure the SCO's operation from January 1, 2004, said the Uzbek minister.