Russia seeks support from eastern neighbors

Russia was expected to ask China and other members of an Asian security group to sign a declaration of support Thursday for Russia's role in the conflict in Georgia. Moscow's plea at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in the impoverished Central Asian nation of Tajikistan may raise fears in Western capitals of the emergence of a competing strategic alliance to NATO forming around Russia. The SCO members, however, were expected to stop short of endorsing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's recognition of the independence claims of two breakaway Georgian regions, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Medvedev and other leaders of SCO member states - China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan - held an unofficial joint meeting at Tajik President Emomali Rahmon's presidential residence on Wednesday.