Aside from a famously bland brand of diplomatic rhetoric, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization represents the only major Eurasian club that caters to both Russian and Chinese interests. Yet with Moscow and Beijing presenting visibly divergent visions for economic cooperation in Central Asia, it is unclear how those competing views can be reconciled.
The building that houses the Executive Committee of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure is in a walled compound in the center of the Uzbek capital, Tashkent. I had the good fortune to be among the few Americans invited to take a peek inside.
Last week, President Islam Karimov came to New York to participate in the UN General Assembly (UNGA). His staff put out the rumor via the semi-official uzmetronom.com that he would meet with President Barack Obama. In the event, another regional leader, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, got to meet with the American president but President Karimov, who is also helping the U.S.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization concluded its annual summit on June 11 by calling for “dialogue” between conflicting groups in Kyrgyzstan, formally agreeing on a procedure to admit new members, and urging the United Nations to play a leading role in Afghanistan.