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Support for Russia at SCO Summit

Vladimir Radyuhin

Moscow’s efforts to ensure peace in South Ossetia appreciated at meet

— Photo: AFP

United stand: (From left) Presidents Nursultan Nazarbayev (Kazakhstan), Hu Jintao (China), Kurmanbek Bakiyev (Kyrgyzstan), Emomali Rakhmon (Tajikistan), Dmitry Medvedev (Russia) and Islam Karimov (Uzbekistan) in Dushanbe on Thursday.

MOSCOW: Russia has won crucial support for its peace efforts in South Ossetia from China and other allies in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

At a summit meeting in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, on Thursday, the six-nation SCO security grouping explicitly backed Russia’s “active role” in restoring peace in the region and endorsing a six-point peace plan worked out jointly with France.

“The SCO states welcome the adoption in Moscow on August 12 of six principles of settling the conflict in South Ossetia and support Russia’s active role in contributing to peace and cooperation in the region,” said the leaders of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in a joint declaration adopted at their one-day summit.

Though the SCO leaders refrained from condemning Georgia’s military attack on its breakaway territory of South Ossetia, their solidarity with Russia stood in stark contrast with the West’s denunciation of the “Russian aggression” against Georgia. The SCO support came ahead of an EU summit meeting on Monday called to discuss ways to punish Russia.

“The SCO states express grave concern in connection with the recent tensions around the South Ossetian issue and urge the sides to solve existing problems peacefully, through dialogue, and to make efforts facilitating reconciliation and talks,” said the SCO declaration.

It made no reference to Russia’s recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states. Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev, who attended the summit, thanked the SCO leaders for their “understanding and objective assessment of Russia’s peacemaking efforts”.

“I hope [the SCO stand] will send a serious signal to those, who try… to justify the bloody adventure of the Georgian leadership,” said Mr. Medvedev, adding that Georgia’s “criminal actions” had been “connived and incited” from abroad.

At a one-to-one meeting with Mr. Medvedev, Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev said his country “understands and supports the measures taken by Russia”.

“I’m amazed at the West’s failure to acknowledge the fact that it was Georgian armed forces who attacked peaceful civilians in Tskhinvali,” said Mr. Nazarbayev in televised remarks.

“This started the conflict, and Russia’s all subsequent actions were aimed at stopping the bloodshed,” he said.

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