Certainly, no bubonic plague is able to break the Bishkek summit of the SCO, no matter how anybody rubs his hands in anticipation of sensation. According to reports from Kyrgyzstan, quarantine in Issyk-Kul region was removed at the end of August, the case of the fatal disease proved to be local, there is no question of epidemic. Consequently, there is no reason any more for an awe of plague, and everyone who is going to Bishkek for SCO summit, scheduled for September 13, can act with confidence, discarding false fears. It is less than ten days to the event, and the Kyrgyz capital is, of course, putting the finishing touches on its face, debugging the organizational details.
...Everyone who arrives in Bishkek is certainly met by its spectral boss - the legendary warrior Manas. The international airport of the Kyrgyz capital is named after the popular epic hero. It must be said at once that the epic Manas is one of the wonders of national folk arts, a unique numbering more than half a million verses. Manas is an evidence of an ancient presence on earth of the Kyrgyz ethnos, its characteristic creativity.
At the airport, guests of the summit will be certainly surprised at other ‘welcomers’ – U.S. military aircraft. Such is the reality. The Enduring Freedom’s air forces will leave Bishkek only at the end of next year, according to the contract. It just remains to be seen where these combat ‘iron birds’ to fly over. There is every likelihood that the U.S. will be able to agree on a harbor for its squadron with the other neighbors of Afghanistan. And all this is a living reminder of the proximity of Afghanistan with all its problems, of the many-headed monster of evil tormenting us – terrorism, extremism, separatism, drug-related crime, and now also cyber gangsterism. It is with them that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization clashed, stating its birth 12 years ago. The SCO intends to fight further with these elements, hostile to international peace and order, by combining strength, material capabilities, intellectual capital. At the Bishkek meeting of leaders of the Shanghai Six new ideas, solutions and plans in this regard will be announced.
For the young sovereign country presiding SCO, it is a matter of honor to hold a summit without a hitch. However, any VIP event organizer strives for this. Security measures taken in Bishkek to rule out any excesses were, of course, maximum. But who could foresee the occurrence of the plague among possible threats? These ‘tricks’ are of evil.
An unexpected turn of events with plague surprises most of all by its fantastic coincidence - the proximity to the summit. The fact is that this dangerous illness was almost forgotten in the country, nobody has heard it for decades. And it had to happen that a young shepherd from the mountainous Issyk-Kul village ate a shish kebab from marmot... Or, according to version, he was bitten by a plague flea (or it may turn out something else?). The foreign press, of course, exploits in its rhetoric, the image of a ‘country of the Middle Ages’. But no one will be able to present Kyrgyzstan as a ‘savage uncivilized land’ (where even the plague has not been exterminated). Not least because this small, mountainous country, besides Manas, has made another major contribution to the universal cultural treasury of the world, giving rise in the twentieth century, to the great sage and humanist, classical author of world literature, Chingiz Aitmatov.
... The Bishkek summit will bring together leaders of the SCO member states; heads of the SCO observer states and dialogue partners are, of course, invited too. In the summer presidential election took place in Iran and Pakistan, and now the SCO will have to deal with new heads of these observer states. In Tehran, Hassan Rohani was installed in the office on August 4; the inaugural ceremony of Mamnun Hussein is scheduled to take place in Islamabad on September 8, so the arrival in Bishkek for both will be the first foreign voyage in their new capacity.
The Bishkek summit will be also attended by heads of the SCO partner organizations executive bodies – the United Nations, CIS, CSTO and EurAsEC. For reporting of the summit, more than two hundred journalists were accredited representing over 80 media from different countries.
In the journalistic pool, of course, there will be media messengers from the whole Shanghai area. Russia will be represented by correspondents of news agencies such as Interfax, RIA Novosti, ITAR-TASS, as well as a TV crew of the 1st ORT channel. Invariably keen interest in the SCO summits is demonstrated by the Chinese media; this time accredited were China Daily, Zhongguo Qingnian Bao, Zhongguo Tsinnyanbao, Xinhua, Venveybao, China Radio International. The event will covered by Indian, Pakistani, Turkish, Mongolian journalists. From far away to Bishkek, envoys will be sent by Western ‘aces’ of the world journalism – France Press, the British media corporation BBC, the world’s largest ‘news factory’ Reuters, The New-York Times, Japan’s NHK, etc.
The interest in the SCO summit is great, and it is clear: with over 12 years of existence, the organization has established itself in the world as an influential participant of the international political process. “The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is undoubtedly a promising and instilling hopes regional international organization,” this estimate was given to it by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, receiving this March Secretary-General of the SCO Dmitry Mezentsev.
The image is exact: ‘instilling hopes’. From when the organization was planned in 2001 to today’s practice of a broad, multilateral, effective cooperation, a long way has been gone. Political analysts call attention to the fact that the SCO has in many ways exceeded expectations that were initially defined by the leaders of the six countries that founded the organization. Anyway, today the SCO is called one of the most successful international and regional projects of the XXI century. However, yesterday’s achievements are no longer enough. The SCO leaders are conscious of this, and each summit, after summarizing what was done, opens prospect, states new problems, gives answers to the challenges of reality.
The summit date is fixed with the consent of all the leaders of the Shanghai Six. The traditional month of these summits is June, but this year the event is carried over September and will be held under the rustle of falling leaves. In search of the postponement causes, opponents play up the most diverse ideas, up to the alarming one. But as they say in the East, their efforts are as useless as a dog barking at a knot...
Because life is not sterile but full of surprises, one can assume that the postponement of the summit is just a practical correction connected with the settlement of presidents’ work schedules, with the desire to go optimally into the issues of the summit, with human personalities, ambitions, at last! A complicated, important work for the region is going, and in the leaders’ hands is the fate of nations.
Of course, the organization has its specific features that cannot but must be taken into account. SCO is a union of rather Oriental type, it has its special etiquette, its own rhythm. Here not so much Western onslaught and dynamics are welcomed as a thorough deliberateness of decisions, careful planning of conclusions, an indispensable delicacy of the process of mutual communication. And there is always a challenging task of reaching a consensus, searching of acceptable to all formulations.
SCO has generated philosophy of almost romantic properties: its cornerstones are parity, consensus, respect, trust, mutually equitable cooperation, conservation of national characteristics. All these high predestinations are incorporated into the paradigm of individual organizations, they are firm. Well, even good ideas are not without a shadow. The consensus is not always easy achieved. There is nothing to explain here – even in an ordinary family it can be difficult to agree among each other.
What, for example, the Afghan issue alone is worth, about which the region is so concerned, causing headaches for all the SCO member states, reasonably disturbing Afghanistan’s nearest neighbors. After 2014, when the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) are withdrawn from its territory, the SCO will be face to face with problems of this crippled, demoralized, poverty-stricken country, which is to be returned to normal life. How to do it in the best way is the subject of the search, disputes and clashes of opinion.
A painful Afghan issue has become a regular on SCO agenda and at the summit in Bishkek it will be again the key one. The SCO leaders are unanimous in their opinion: simplified schemes and methods of resolving the highly complex Afghan conflicts accumulated over a long history, can not be successful. There is a need here for a balanced, correct approach, taking into account many opinions on which the normalization of the situation in the country depends. It is from this position and with such a flexible policy instrument that SCO is going to act.
Any summit can not do without a constructive exchange of views on further development of the organization activity, because it is a development and progress condition. Heads of state will also concentrate their attention on the dangerous for the region phenomena such as terrorism, separatism and extremism, illicit drug and arms trafficking, transnational organized crime.
The summit will address ten questions in all covering the urgent problems. The resulting policy document – Bishkek Declaration – will reflect the basic approaches of the SCO states to the further development of cooperation in the framework of the organization. It will designate the SCO member states’ positions with which the organization current activities are evaluated on the most pressing issues of contemporary politics, particularly on the events in the Middle East, Iran’s nuclear program, the UN reform, etc.
Among the documents of the meeting in Bishkek is the organization activity plan for 2013-2017 to implement the provisions of the Treaty on long-term good-neighborliness, friendship and cooperation between the countries. The plan identifies specific actions of the Shanghai countries to strengthen cooperation at all vectors of the SCO multifaceted activities. A document is expected to be adopted evidencing that the scope of the SCO cooperation is expanding - it comes to the Agreement on science and technology.
In anticipation of the summit, articles dedicated to it, more often critical, appear in the world press. It can be explained: SCO remains for the West an ‘incomprehensible and dangerous alliance’, a kind of ‘oriental monster’ whose geographical contour outlines half of the globe, and demographic one almost half of mankind. So, just in case, it is to be feared. And someone stubbornly draws parallels between the SCO and the EU, but there are a few valence categories between these organizations. Say, is it possible that ‘the last EU country’ Bulgaria talks on equal terms with, say, France, and Riga’s point of view is perceived with the same seriousness as that of Berlin?
In the meantime, under the arches of the SCO all are equal and the voice of a small, wearied by social and political turbulence and economic problems Kyrgyzstan sounds as confident and significant as the voice of the great in all respects China. SCO thinks in no uncertain terms: all countries, regardless of the size of their territory, economic power, political culture, religion, traditional features, should have absolutely equal voice in the world affairs and fully participate in the discussion of the most important issues of our time.
It is this paradigm that makes the SCO’s image unique, attractive, and future-oriented.