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Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit Concludes in Beijing


Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states agreed to work together to combat the global economic crisis and find ways to increase cooperation on financial issues.

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The Shanghai Cooperation Organization, meeting in Beijing Wednesday, brought together the leaders of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The SCO is a regional security grouping. However, this time, economic difficulties took center stage.

Following the closed-door discussions, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao appeared on state television.

Mr. Wen says he believes that, if all member states work hand in hand to deepen cooperation, they certainly will be able to create a glorious future of peace and prosperity for the region.

He says participants drafted measures to strengthen multilateral economic cooperation and handle the global financial crisis.

The members also pledged to create a fund to boost transportation and telecommunication links, although there were no immediate details.

This summit was overshadowed by talks a day earlier between China and Russia, with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin overseeing a tentative gas supply agreement and deals worth $3.5 billion.

Nations with formal SCO observer status - India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan - sent representatives. China also invited Afghanistan.

Iran was represented by First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi, who had planned meetings with both Russian and Chinese leaders.

These meetings come as Washington and its allies contemplate tough new sanctions on Iran, if it fails to fully disclose its suspected nuclear program. Russia and China have resisted Western pressure for stronger punishment, especially when the United Nations passed previous sanctions against Iran.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell told reporters in Beijing Wednesday he discussed Iran in his meetings with Chinese officials.

"I think the United States has made clear to China that we are accepting the advice of the international community to work as hard as possible on a diplomatic initiative, vis-a-vis Iran, obviously working closely with the Europeans and the Russians. But, if we're to make real progress in sending a consolidated message to Iran, we are going to need the support of China," he said.

When asked specifically about Iran's participation in the talks, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said Iran would, in his words, "play its due role, like other observers."


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