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Russia ratifies long-term SCO cooperation treaty

By RIA Novosti,

Moscow : Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a law ratifying a long-term pact with the other Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) members, comprising China and four Central Asian countries, the Kremlin said Wednesday.

The friendship, good-neighbourliness and cooperation treaty between the member states of the SCO was ratified by both houses of Russia’s parliament in May.

The SCO, a regional bloc comprising Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan, primarily addresses security issues, but has recently moved to embrace various economic and social projects.

The bloc is seen as a counterweight to NATO’s influence in Eurasia.

The treaty was signed in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan’s capital, at a meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State in August 2007.

The agreement is aimed at developing strategic partnership relations between members to strengthen peace, security and stability, expand economic cooperation, and improve contracts in culture, education, healthcare and science.