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Liveblog: Eurasian Leaders Gather for SCO Summit in Bishkek

Border security following the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and a response to the ongoing crisis in Syria are high on the agenda for the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Bishkek today. The SCO summit brings together Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping along with the leaders of Iran, Afghanistan, and most Central Asian states.


Iranian President Hassan Rohani (left) is welcomed at Bishkek's Manas Airport by Kyrgyz Prime Minister Jantoro Satybaldiev on September 12.

Iranian President Hassan Rohani (left) is welcomed at Bishkek's Manas Airport by Kyrgyz Prime Minister Jantoro Satybaldiev on September 12.

Summary


21:45 13.9.2013
19:52 13.9.2013
More important tie news: Putin and Atambayev wear identical red ties. Putin was also the only leader that Atambayev greeted with an embrace. Coincidence?
19:43 13.9.2013
The SCO summit may be over, but the SCO Youth Council marches on for one day more in Bishkek. Perhaps not surprisingly, the participants have expressed support for the Russian initiative in Syria.
19:31 13.9.2013
Bishkek already suffering from SCO fatigue.
18:23 13.9.2013
Closing up with some key takeaways:

-- The Bishkek Declaration on Syria uses Moscow's language in supporting the plan for ridding Syria of chemical weapons. In a clear reference to the U.S., it opposes "illegal actions aimed at further militarization of the internal conflict in Syria."

-- This was Hassan Rohani's first foreign trip since becoming Iran's president in early August. In bilateral meetings with Putin and Xi, he pushed for help finding a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis and received words of support from both leaders. He also emphasized Tehran's role in finding a solution to the crisis in Syria.

-- The sides agreed to an international conference on Afghanistan to be held in Bishkek on October 10. Security following the pullout of U.S. troops from Afghanistan is a major concern of member states, but China and Russia, the two major SCO players, have competing interests in Afghanistan. There is no common security infrastructure between member states.

-- Chinese President Xi Jinping preceded the summit with a tour of Central Asia, signing a series of billion-dollar agreements on natural resources and infrastructure.

-- India asked for permanent member status in the organization, but there is currently no mechanism for adding members.

-- SCO member states are China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan, India, Iran, Pakistan, and Mongolia have observer status, while Belarus, Turkey, and Sri Lanka are dialogue partners.

-- Glenn Kates
17:48 13.9.2013
After Putin and Rohani meet, the Russian President says there are many "issues" concerning Iran's nuclear program, but Iran is a "good neighbor" and there is a long history of mutual cooperation.

Rohani says his government is ready to cooperate with Russia in solving "regional issues" in the Middle East.

"The initiative of the Russian Federation, with regard to Syria, as well as the steps taken by the Syrian government, have given us hope that we can avoid a new war in the region," he said. "We believe, that the more active the consultation between our countries on regional issues - especially given the sensitive situation in the Middle East - the more will be done to address the problem."
17:39 13.9.2013
17:33 13.9.2013
Granted, the SCO Summit is a rather dry affair, but it's not without intrigue. This Twitter user points out that the leaders of China and Kyrgyzstan appear to have exchanged ties with each other.

17:13 13.9.2013
Rohani earlier today:

"The human tragedy in Syria can only be resolved through political means with dialogue between the Syrian government and the Syrian groups opposed to it, without the specter of foreign military intervention. All parties who can exert influence, like Iran, should make efforts to help ensure that such constructive dialogue can take place."
16:10 13.9.2013

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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