Kommersant: SCO members deem terrorism as major threat
17.05.2019 10:37

The activities of radical groups pose a security threat to the countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and terrorists see them as breeding grounds "to recruit new members and spread their ideas," Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said at a meeting with his counterparts form SCO member states, held in Kyrgyzstan, Kommersant writes.

The Russian delegation’s head and other speakers focused on the issue of terrorism. Patrushev pointed to the threat emanating from foreign militants who return from combat zones to their home countries or move to third countries. The meeting’s participants adopted a final statement highlighting the importance of creating a united global front against terrorism, the illegitimacy of meddling in the domestic affairs of countries using counter-terrorism as an excuse, the unacceptability of using terrorist, extremist and radical groups for one’s own purposes and the need to combat the spread of terrorist ideas online.

"The fight against terrorism is the SCO’s priority at the moment," Director of the Asian Security Project at the PIR Center Vadim Kozyulin told the paper. "There also is the potential for resolving the Afghan crisis. The SCO is the most appropriate platform for such efforts because Afghanistan is surrounded by SCO member states and all of them are interested in finding a solution," the expert pointed out. The idea that the SCO should play a key role in resolving the Afghan issue "hasn’t been clarified yet" but sooner or later it will come under consideration, Kozyulin added.

The SCO’s June summit will make it clear what the odds are to unlock this potential. Kyrgyz political scientist Igor Shestakov told the paper that it was very important for President Sooronbay Jeenbekov to make sure the upcoming summit was as fruitful as possible. "This is why Kyrgyzstan will put forward projects concerning two main areas of the SCO’s activities: the economy - which will particularly concern the construction of a railway line connecting China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan - and regional security," the expert said. "The fighting in Afghanistan has approached the borders of Central Asian countries, 15,000 to 20,000 militants have amassed in the area. Perhaps, Bishkek will also suggest discussing a roadmap for resolving the border conflicts between India and Pakistan," Shestakov added.