TASHKENT: President Asif Ali Zardari arrived in Uzbekistan on Thursday to attend the 10th Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). President Asif Ali Zardari will address the summit on Friday besides holding bilateral meetings with the presidents of Russia, China and Uzbekistan.
The Pakistani delegation comprises Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar and State Minister for Foreign Affairs Nawabzada Malik Amad Khan.
Aside from China and Russia, the six-nation group includes four ex-Soviet Central Asian states – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – while Iran, India and Pakistan have observer status and have in the past expressed interest in joining. The summit will also discuss giving permanent membership to observer countries.
The SCO has, over the years, assumed significance as it seeks to promote peace and stability in the region besides combating terrorism, extremism and organised crime. The group has also been able to further expand its mandate to include economic and cultural cooperation. It has also extended its outreach to include observers and dialogue partners.
A statement by the foreign office said that the president’s participation in the SCO summit reflects the “immense importance that Pakistan attaches to further strengthening its mutually beneficial cooperation with the countries of the Eurasian region, particularly in the field of promoting peace, stability and development.”
Published in the Express Tribune, June 11th, 2010.
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