NEW KAZAKH CHAIR OF SHANGHAI ORGANIZATION OUTLINES PRIORITIES
Bolat Nurgaliev, the new Kazakh secretary-general of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), outlined on January 25 the organization's priorities for the coming year, according to Khabar TV. Nurgaliev said the SCO is committed to "ensuring peace and stability" in the region and will focus on fostering greater cooperation "in the fight against terrorism, separatism, and extremism." He also highlighted the need for economic cooperation between the six SCO member states (Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan), noting the approval of a "comprehensive development program" to create a new "free-trade area" that would include new measures to promote the unfettered "movement of goods, capital, technologies, and services." He said there will also be discussions within the SCO on forming an energy alliance based on a new "Asian energy strategy within the SCO."
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