16 August 2007The Shanghai Cooperation Organization has emerged as a key regional forum for tackling the threats posed by terrorism, drug trafficking and conflict, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the seventh summit of heads of State of the six-member grouping today. In a message delivered on his behalf by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe, Mr. Ban praised the participants at the summit – taking place in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan – for their willingness to work together at a time when so many major international problems transcend national borders. “You have been at the forefront of efforts to strengthen mutual trust, dialogue and cooperation in a large part of Asia,” he said. “Your Member States have launched concrete projects and developed important frameworks for addressing security in all its dimensions – political, military, economic and environmental. “You are demonstrating an active commitment to fighting the global scourge of terrorism – by taking important political, legal and operational measures against this existential threat; by recognizing that terrorism hurts all nations, large and small, and takes its toll on people of every income, culture and religion.” Formed in the Chinese city of the same name in 2001, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization comprises China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, six nations with a combined population of about 1.5 billion, or a quarter of the global total. Mr. Ban’s message welcomed the way the Organization has begun initiatives to improve access to technology, boost investment and trade, and develop infrastructure – measures he said would help to “counter the negative trends of separatism and extremism.” The Secretary-General added that he was delighted by the close working contacts that the grouping has now established with several United Nations entities and said he looked forward to even closer collaboration in the future.