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SCO Prime Ministers Meet In St. Petersburg

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization was founded in 2001.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization was founded in 2001.

The prime ministers of states in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization met today in the Russian city of St. Petersburg.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told the conference that member nations should work together to make the group a leading force in the world economy and international security.

"By joining our efforts, we can bring the work of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to a new level and meet the ambitious goal of turning our organization into one of the fundamental structures in the global economic and political architecture, an effective platform for interaction among regional associations, and a broader dialogue among neighboring countries," Putin said.

Putin also was expected to meet today with Chinese President Hu Jintao on the sidelines of the conference for talks about regional security and bilateral trade.

Founded 10 years ago in the Chinese city of Shanghai, the organization brings together China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

Mongolia, India, Iran, and Pakistan have official observer status and are seeking to join.

Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Belarus, and Sri Lanka also have formal links to the Shanghai group.

compiled from agency reports