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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Calls for Energy Club in Asia

President Vladimir Putin on Thursday backed the creation of an Asian energy club to further develop economic cooperation between Russia, China and four Central Asian nations.

"I consider very timely the proposal to create the energy club of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and to expand cooperation in the transport and communication sectors," Putin said at the group's annual summit in Shanghai, as quoted in the official transcript.

Created five years ago, the organization unites China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The summit was also attended by observers representing other Asian nations, including Iran, whose president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, welcomed Putin's proposal.

"The increasing role of energy and the presence of oil consumers and producers among member states have provided conducive grounds for cooperation," Ahmadinejad said at the meeting, Bloomberg reported. He also suggested that Russia and Iran could cooperate on jointly setting natural gas prices "in the interests of global stability," RIA-Novosti reported.

The group's members and four observer nations -- Iran, India, Pakistan and Mongolia -- collectively hold nearly one-quarter of the world's oil reserves.

Putin has said energy cooperation should be a priority for the organization. He has also called for a boost in nuclear energy cooperation within the CIS.