Shanghai Cooperation Organization prime ministers meet in Bishkek

BISHKEK (Monitoring Desk) – The 15th prime ministers’ meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) opened in Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan, on Thursday to promote further integration of the six-nation group.

Delivering a keynote speech, Kyrgyz acting Prime Minister Sooronbay Zheenbekov spoke highly of the cooperation within the SCO over the past 15 years and vowed to promote more concrete cooperative measures across a number of areas.

“The SCO members have achieved remarkable results in all fields and will further develop their cooperative ties regarding the economy, trade, security and culture in the future,” said the prime minister.

He said that the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China is of great importance and the organization will seek a bigger role in it.

According to the organizing committee, the prime ministers will discuss implementing the agreements reached at the SCO Tashkent summit and exchange views on promoting regional economic cooperation and investment. During the one-day meeting, they would pay special attention to the establishment of a SCO free trade zone and a SCO development bank.

The leaders are expected to release a joint declaration outlining the achievements of the past year and chart a way forward for the bloc’s future development.

Regular meetings mechanism among the SCO prime ministers was set up in September 2001.

Established in 2001, the SCO is a regional political, economic and security organization that groups China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as full members.

India and Pakistan signed the SCO’s Memorandum of Obligations in June, kick-starting the process of their accession into the bloc, which also has a number of observers and dialogue partners

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