President Hu Jintao offered US$900 million in preferential loans to Russia and four Central Asian republics to enhance economic cooperation and trade, state media said. Hu's offer came at the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Tashkent, where summit leaders from China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan inaugurated an anti-terror think tank. Hu urged the group, formed in 2001, to remain focused on combating terrorism, separatism and extremism. Uzbekistan called for creating a Central Asian Common Market and Russia proposed establishing links between the bloc and Afghanistan. All participants agreed to cooperate on anti-drug trafficking efforts.
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