China's Hu sees role for regional bloc in Afghanistan

By REUTERS
June 6, 2012 06:34

 
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BEIJING - A regional bloc bringing together China, Russia and central Asian states wants to play a bigger role in Afghanistan, Chinese President Hu Jintao said in an interview published on Wednesday, as regional leaders gathered for their annual summit.

The future of neighbor Afghanistan, facing the withdrawal of most foreign combat forces by the end of 2014, is likely to be discussed at the two-day meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), whose member states fear growing instability spilling across the central Asian region as the pullout goes on.

"We will continue to manage regional affairs by ourselves, guarding against shocks from turbulence outside the region, and will play a bigger role in Afghanistan's peaceful reconstruction," Hu was quoted as saying in an interview with China's official People's Daily newspaper about the SCO summit.

"We'll strengthen communication, coordination and cooperation in dealing with major international and regional issues," said Hu.

The SCO, founded in 2001, includes China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Iran, India, Pakistan and others attend the summits, but not as full members.

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