MOSCOW, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- The foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization have met in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, for the last time before the SCO summit in August, to approve the agenda.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a regional organization comprising Russia, China and the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan in Central Asia. India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan all have observer status.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Chinese colleague, Yang Jiechi, came to Dushanbe from Singapore, where they attended a security forum held by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations -- ASEAN. Before that, they held bilateral talks in Beijing.
Flying almost parallel courses to Dushanbe is not a coincidence. Major Asian powers, Russia and China are very active in Southeast and Central Asia and are full members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a Central Asian organization similar to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
In Singapore, the foreign ministers concluded an interesting diplomatic project, which can and should be used at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as a model and as a precedent.
The United States and the 27-nation European Union accused one of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations member states, Myanmar -- formerly Burma -- of failure to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe after Cyclone Nargis hit the south and east of the country on May 2 and 3, 2008, resulting in nearly 138,000 people dead or missing.
One of the vulnerable elements in Shanghai Cooperation Organization history is the killing of unarmed protesters by the Uzbek government in the city of Andijan in May 2005.
There could be other similar incidents in the member states of both organizations, but is this enough for the Western public to demonize them?
Myanmar knows that blows against one's reputation can be followed by air strikes, as in Yugoslavia in 1999, or a softer but no less dramatic attack as in Indonesia, when it lost part of its territory in 1999, now called East Timor.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations so far has refused to admit East Timor. The organization does not like the Myanmar military regime either, but it likes foreign interference in regional affairs even less. This is why Myanmar's partners and neighbors resolved to uncover the truth.
Last May, the West launched a verbal attack on Myanmar, accusing the regime of inability to help hundreds of thousands of cyclone victims and refusal to accept Western humanitarian aid, inferring that "humanitarian intervention" was needed in this situation.
This is when the government of Myanmar, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the United Nations released the Post-Nargis Joint Assessment -- PONJA -- report, which provides the first comprehensive picture and objective analysis of the devastating impact of the cyclone on the Myanmar people.
(In Part 2: The impact of the PONJA report.)
(Dmitry Kosyrev is a political commentator for the RIA Novosti news agency. This article is reprinted by permission of RIA Novosti. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.)
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