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Nazarbaev Issues Veiled Warning To Russia At SCO Meeting

The prime ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states pose for a family photo in Astana on December 15.

The prime ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states are meeting in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev opened the session on December 15 , saying that the SCO "has managed to gain political significance and economic power."

"The organization is working, first of all, for stability, the absence of territorial disputes between member-states and joint efforts against three evils of the modern life: separatism, extremism, and terrorism," Nazarbaev said.

The remarks contained a message of warning to Russia, which has annexed Crimea and backed pro-Russian separatists fighting government forces in eastern Ukraine.

The conflict has caused concerns among Russia's neighbors that it could have designs on parts of their territory.

Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov told the meeting that "Eurasian integration may become a new factor capable of enriching and strengthening the SCO's economic component" -- a reference to the Eurasian Economic Union, which is due to begin operating on January 1 with Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Armenia as members.

Masimov also urged the SCO to seek to minimize the possible consequences of global financial and economic shocks.

Ahead of the talks, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev met with his Chinese counterpart, Li Keqiang.

On December 14, Li and Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov presided over the signing of some 30 agreements worth about $14 billion.

The other SCO members are Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

Based on reporting by Kazinform and KazTAG