While coming under increasing criticism from the West over its truculent behavior in Georgia, Russia looks set to garner support from other Shanghai Cooperation Organization members when the group holds its annual summit in Dushanbe on August 28-29. The gathering will be watched closely by the United States and European Union for insight into Russia's diplomatic intentions on an array of fronts, especially the Iranian nuclear question.
The heads of state of the SCO's six members -- China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan -- are scheduled to attend the summit in the Tajik capital. Also participating will be top officials from India, Iran, Mongolia, Pakistan and Turkmenistan. Citing security needs, Tajik authorities reportedly sealed the country's borders on August 24, according to a report distributed by the Gazeta.kz web site. The country will remain closed to outsiders until August 30, the report added.
Summiteers indicated that the Caucasus crisis would be high on the agenda. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive]. A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, speaking during a briefing in Beijing, said that member states "can discuss the issues they are interested in
Stephen Blank is a professor at the US Army War College. The views expressed this article do not in any way represent the views of the US Army, Defense Department or the US Government.