BEIJING, June 6 (RIA Novosti) - Multiple challenges force Russia and China to develop not only bilateral cooperation formats and mechanisms of cooperation with Central Asian states, but also to boost the potential of regional organizations, especially the CSTO and SCO, Secretary of the Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said.
"There is a growing need to accelerate the implementation of the initiative of Russian President [Vladimir Putin] to establish a universal center to counter modern challenges and threats to security on the basis of the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) Regional Counterterrorist Structure. We are grateful to China for its support of our efforts in this direction," Patrushev said on Friday after the 10th round of Russian-Chinese consultations on strategic security.
The Afghan factor and its impact on regional security was also touched upon during the talks, Patrushev noted. "I am convinced that the military presence of extra-regional forces in Central Asia should be linked with the objectives of stabilization efforts in Afghanistan. The necessity for such a presence, and even more so for its spread to Central Asia, should cease to exist in the course of the formation of the national armed forces, security and law enforcement agencies in Afghanistan," Patrushev clarified.
The increased activity of the terrorist groups in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China in recent months is not accidental, according to the secretary of the Russian Security Council. "We have expressed our condolences to our Chinese friends concerning the tragic terrorist attacks that occurred in this autonomous region of China," Patrushev said.
Founded in 2001, the Beijing-based SCO comprises Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan have observer status in the political and military organization.
The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) is a military alliance of former Soviet states; it comprises Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
On May 23, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced at the International Security Conference that Russia decided to strengthen its military bases abroad as well as to help to boost the armed forces of the CSTO and the SCO.