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Kazakhstan's capital Astana is hosting a summit marking the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) -- the grouping that brings together China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan for talks on cooperation on security and trade issues.


The summit is being attended by the Chinese and Russian presidents, Hu Jintao and Dmitry Medvedev, while Iran and Pakistan, who are observers to the group, are being represented by presidents Mahmud Ahmadinejad and Asif Ali Zardari.


Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai is expected to attend the summit as a guest.


Officials say that in addition to taking part in plenary sessions, the leaders are likely to hold a series of bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the summit.


Russian presidential adviser Sergei Prikhodko said it was unlikely that the meeting will result in a decision to admit any of the observer nations as full members of the SCO.


The summit will include Kazakhstan handing over the rotating chairmanship of the organization to China.

The Shanghai group is named after the Chinese city where it was founded.


compiled from agency reports

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