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Dmitry Medvedev sent a message of greetings to delegates at a special conference on Afghanistan taking place in Moscow under the aegis of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

March 27, 2009

“This conference, which is taking place in the Russian capital under the aegis of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is an important and much-needed event”, Mr Medvedev said in his message. “You are to discuss a whole number of serious issues directly concerning the interests of Afghanistan, other countries in the region, and the entire international community. They include such crucial problems as fighting terrorism, illegal drugs trafficking, and trans-border crime.

The Afghan people and government are concentrating their efforts today on building up their state and economy. But it is impossible to carry out this work without guaranteeing stability and security throughout the entire country. In our view, in this respect, Afghanistan needs our help and support more than ever.

I am sure that the conference will make an important contribution to the efforts of the SCO member countries and observers, and the other countries and international organisations in helping Afghanistan. For its part, Russia is ready to take part in active joint efforts to normalise the situation in Afghanistan and ensure its peaceful and constructive development.”

The message was delivered by Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov.

The SCO includes Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan are observer states in the SCO.

March 27, 2009