The Shanghai Co-operation Council, formed to counter the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato), consists of Russia, China and four ex-Soviet Central Asian states: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

The agenda of Thursday's summit was dominated by developments in the current crisis in the Caucasus between Russia and Georgia and the repercussions of Russia's recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which both broke away from Georgia in the mid-nineties, as independent states.
Russia's state news agency quoted the Tajik government newspaper as saying that there was also discussion of expanding the organisation to include Iran, India, Pakistan and others.

Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan's president, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, were attending the talks as observers.