Ufa (Russia): Moscow hopes the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) would become a platform to resolve international issues, Russian President Vladimir Putin said here.
“We hope that the SCO platform will become where we are able to gather together and look for compromises and solutions for disputed issues,” Putin said during a press conference after the concluded BRICS and SCO summits on Friday, Xinhua reported.
He mentioned that the “full-fledged inclusion of India and Pakistan” could help solve the dispute between the two countries.
A resolution was passed on Friday to start the procedures of granting India and Pakistan full SCO membership at the 15th bloc summit held in the south-western Russian city of Ufa.
Presently, both India and Pakistan are observers. Pakistan applied for a full membership in 2006 and India in 2014.
The expansion of the SCO “opens a new level in the bloc’s development”, Putin said, speaking highly of the strong momentum of the SCO in economic and financial cooperation.
Founded in 2001, the SCO now has China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as its full members, with Afghanistan, Belarus, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan as observers, and Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey as dialogue partners.
As Russia holds the rotating chairs of both the SCO and the BRICS, the summits of the two blocs were held together between July 8-10.
“We should start drafting an SCO convention on fighting extremism,” Putin stressed, as he pointed out that the activities of the Islamic State spreading into Afghanistan have added to the security threats of the SCO countries.
Russia on Tuesday said it has officially warned US internet giant Google against meddling in next Sunday’s local elections by posting opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s videos calling for mass protests.
Representatives of Russia’s electoral commission, the Prosecutor-General’s Office and the state internet watchdog at a meeting alleged Navalny uses Google’s services to disseminate illegal information and warned that the company may be prosecuted if it does not act to stop this.
A Google spokeswoman declined to give a specific comment, telling AFP in an emailed statement that the company “reviews all valid requests from government institutions.”
Central Election Commission member Alexander Klyukin said the commission had sent an official letter to Larry Page, the CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet, regarding Navalny’s use of YouTube.
The fierce Kremlin critic has urged Russians to protest on September 9, when several Russian regions and Moscow elect regional and local officials.
Navalny is currently serving a 30-day sentence for violating public order laws during a protest earlier this year.
“Mr. Navalny buys the company’s advertising tools to publish information on YouTube about the mass political event on September 9, on the day of elections,” Klyukin said.
“We informed Google that such events on election day will lead to massive violation of the law” because political agitation is banned on election day, he said.
“Meddling by a foreign company in our election is not permitted.”
He called Google a “gigantic American company” and hinted that Washington uses it as an influence tool.
US officials have repeatedly warned about the dangers of Russian interference in upcoming elections and there is a full-scale probe underway into Moscow’s alleged role in the 2016 presidential election which brought Donald Trump to office.
‘Mouthpiece’ for illegal information
The deputy chief of Russia’s internet watchdog Roskomnadzor, Vadim Subbotin, accused “foreign internet platforms” of disrespecting Russian laws and serving as a “mouthpiece for disseminating illegal information.”
He said Google-owned YouTube “acts as a link in the chain for propaganda of anti-social behaviour during Russian elections.”
He said “over 40” YouTube channels “constantly call for violating Russian law.”
“Certain parties interested in destabilising the situation in Russia attempt to attract internet users to illegal actions by providing unlimited opportunities on foreign internet giants like Google,” he said.
If Google fails to respond to official complaints, this will be seen as “de-facto direct intervention in Russia’s domestic affairs,” he said.
The officials discussed their grievances against Google during a meeting at Russia’s upper house of parliament.