SCO Foreign Ministers to Meet in Alma-Ata on April 29

On April 29 Alma-Ata will host a meeting of the Council of foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member-states. The meeting will focus on preparations for the SCO summit, said Alexander Ivanov, the head of the all-Asia problems department.

According to him, the foreign ministers will discuss three groups of issues. The first group of issues is connected with the SCO Charter (regulations). The sides will also consider activities of heads of state, prime ministers and national coordinators of this organisation.

With account for rapid formation of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (2001 - the beginning of the formation; 2002 - the adoption of the Charter; 2003 - the discussion of principal documents), by the beginning of 2004 "the SCO will be functioning as a full-fledged multi-format organisation," Ivanov said.

The second group of issues to be discussed at the forthcoming Council of Ministers is practical cooperation between member-states within the organisation. Ivanov pointed to the rapid development of cooperation in economics and emergency situations.

In addition, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation member-states (Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) are actively cooperating at the level of defence ministries (issues of strategic stability and counter-terrorism), with general prosecutors and Culture Ministries of the countries.

Ivanov also pointed to activities within the framework of the so-called Bishkek group of heads of law enforcement agencies and special services. They focus on the fight against drug trafficking and distribution.

The work in the spheres of transport and border departments is also being carried out. According to Ivanov, a meeting between heads of SCO border departments is scheduled for the first half of 2003.

The third group of issues includes vital international problems. The ministers are to discuss the current developments in the world, Ivanov said.

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