China and Russia have both offered to provide billions of dollars in aid to central Asian nations to help them weather the global economic downturn, Bloomberg reported. The pledges were made during the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg on Tuesday. The SCO is comprised of China, Russia and the four former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. China offered to provide US$10 billion in aid while Russia said it will create a US$7.5 billion fund to help to help Belarus (which is not in the SCO), Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The move is seen as a way for Russia and China to consolidate their strong influence in the region. President Hu Jintao and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev also joined together in calling for a new global reserve currency to offset the dollar’s dominance. Later they met with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in the first summit of so-called BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) nations.
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