Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, heading a high-ranking delegation, arrived in the Kyrgyz capital city of Bishkek on Wednesday to meet with senior officials of that country and attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit. The visit is the third leg of a five-day tour of three nations, which has already taken him to Afghanistan and Turkmenistan.
During his sojourn in Kyrgyzstan, Ahmadinejad, who is accompanied by Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Larijani, his senior advisor Hashemi Samareh and a number of deputy ministers and parliament members, will attend talks with senior Kyrgyz officials, including President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.
During his two-day trip to Bishkek, Ahmadinejad is also due to confer with his Russian, Chinese, Pakistani, Tajik, Kazakh and Uzbek counterparts about bilateral ties and regional issues.
Meetings with the chairman of the state committee for religions and religious scholars council, Kyrgyz economic affairs and finance minister, parliament speaker, elites, researchers and Iranologists of Kyrgyzstan are also included in Ahmadinejad’s itinerary.
Bishkek is also due to host meetings of the security council secretaries, council of the foreign ministers and bank representatives of SCO member states on the sidelines of the summit of the heads of state.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is an inter-governmental organization founded in Shanghai on June 15, 2001 by six countries – China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
Iran, Pakistan, India and Mongolia have observer status in the SCO.
The Iranian president will take part in the summit in accordance with SCO regulations and an agreement reached by member states allowing participation by observer states.
SCO’s six member states have a total population of 1.455 billion, about a quarter of the world’s total.