By Kamila Aliyeva
Russia will host the next meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states scheduled for November 30 - December 1.
This was stated by the special representative of the Russian President for the SCO affairs, Ambassador at Large of the Foreign Ministry Bakhtiyor Khakimov, TASS reported.
The agenda of the forthcoming meeting includes the development of trade and economic cooperation, taking into account the tendencies prevailing in the world economy and the promotion of humanitarian ties within the SCO framework as well as the organization's budget approval for 2018.
Iran's accession to the SCO remains on the agenda, Khakimov noted. He recalled that one of the charter’s principles is the openness of the SCO.
"The first step in expanding the membership of the SCO has already been done. Of course, this process will continue. The admission of India and Pakistan does not mean that the doors to the organization have been closed," the diplomat added.
The process of incorporating India and Pakistan into the work of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is underway as some technical issues need to be tackled, according to Khakimov.
The diplomat recalled that New Delhi and Islamabad had joined all the SCO basic documents when the process of their accession to the organization was in progress.
"The package of documents they had to join consisted of approximately 30 various agreements beginning with the charter," he explained.
At the same time, Khakimov noted that India and Pakistan should also join the documents that are temporarily used by the SCO.
"That’s why the process will be delayed for some time, but, on the other hand, no one prevents India and Pakistan from joining practical work," he stressed.
The procedure for admission and granting the status of a SCO member state to India and Pakistan was completed at the organization’s summit in Astana in June.
The SCO, established in 2001 by China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, conducts multilateral cooperation between the member states on national security, military, economy and culture.
The SCO members now are China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and newly accepted India and Pakistan.
In addition to the eight member states, the SCO has four observer nations – Mongolia, Iran, Afghanistan and Belarus – and six dialogue partners, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
Iran applied for membership in 2008. The barriers for its accession to the SCO were removed with the lifting of the sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council.
Kamila Aliyeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Kami_Aliyeva
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