13 June 2006

Secretary-General Hails Growing Regional Role of Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Message to Grouping's Sixth Summit

NEW YORK, 12 June (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's message to the Sixth Summit Meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), in Shanghai on 10 June:

I am pleased to send greetings to the Presidents of the six member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and to your organization's Secretary-General.

In the 10 years since its establishment, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization has become an important regional grouping, and plays a serious role in addressing issues of peace and security in a part of Asia encompassing a large territory and a population of nearly 1.5 billion people.  SCO member States have demonstrated, in concrete terms, their commitment to strengthening dialogue, cooperation and mutual understanding, and have developed mechanisms and institutions to achieve these objectives.  The SCO has also expanded its scope of activities, welcome evidence of deepening ties between member States and their confidence in the organization.

Indeed, you are now active on many of the most important issues of our times.  You are trying to do more to safeguard the environment, promote development, and ensure that people have opportunities to compete fairly in the global trading regime.  And you have made efforts to combat the menace of terrorism, extremism, and separatism.  These initiatives point to the increasing interconnectedness of member States, and the enormous potential for mutual benefit and growth through cooperation.

Cooperation between the SCO and the United Nations is also taking on new dimensions.  The SCO has established close working contacts with ESCAP, UNDP and other UN agencies, and now has observer status in the General Assembly.  The SCO also sent a senior representative to the last year's high-level meeting between the UN and regional and other intergovernmental organizations; the seventh such meeting will take place in September 2006, and, since partnership with regional organizations is essential in our common pursuit of international peace and security, I hope the SCO will be represented there, too, at the highest possible level.

As you mark the tenth anniversary of the SCO, please accept my congratulations, as well as my best wishes for the success of your vital endeavours.

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