SCO awaits expansion

SCO awaits expansion

The Secretary General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Dmitry Mezentsev, said at the opening of the 10th session of the SCO Forum in Khanty-Mansiysk, that the SCO is entering a new period of increased efficiency and quality of the entire multi-tiered system of interaction mechanisms.


"It is expected that, during its further development, the SCO will correspond to the SCO Charter on the openness of the organization, and therefore the actual extension of the basic structure is on the agenda," Mezentsev said.


According to him, the admission of new countries "is certainly a major factor for the strengthening of the SCO’s international standing," as well as "an application for another, more meaningful participation in the settlement of issues on the international agenda, in its positioning in the region." "We are well aware that the enlargement process is rather lengthy, as each applicant will have to sign up to 28 basis documents. This will take time, of course, but the general conversation about expansion is very urgent, so it is important, and I think today will find a certain reflection in the discussion that will unfold in the framework of the SCO Forum," TASS cited the secretary general. 


"Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov said that Russia supports the expansion of trade and mutual investments in the framework of the SCO, whose goal is not economic integration,"  he said.


"As part of our presidency, the emphasis is on the implementation of major projects that contribute to energy and transport links of the region, effective development of resources and the creation of high-tech industrial clusters," the Deputy Minister said.

 

He stressed that Russia plans to pay special attention to cooperation with international organizations, first of all, "taking advantage of the Eurasian Economic Union for the development of the SCO." In addition, Morgulov noted that the main aim of Russia’s presidency is a practical start of the SCO expansion process.According to him, one way out for the organization to a new quality and a new level of cooperation is its extension. "Interest in the SCO format is great and the organization is ready to receive new members. In this regard, an expansion of the SCO is one of the main tasks facing Russia," the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister said.In addition, he expressed the opinion that the SCO is an authoritative regional organization. "It is absolutely clear that the SCO as an authoritative regional organization has gained the considerable potential of multi-faceted cooperation," he concluded.The next meeting of the SCO will be held in July in Ufa.

He stressed that Russia plans to pay special attention to cooperation with international organizations, first of all, "taking advantage of the Eurasian Economic Union for the development of the SCO." In addition, Morgulov noted that the main aim of Russia’s presidency is a practical start of the SCO expansion process.


According to him, one way out for the organization to a new quality and a new level of cooperation is its extension. "Interest in the SCO format is great and the organization is ready to receive new members. In this regard, an expansion of the SCO is one of the main tasks facing Russia," the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister said.


In addition, he expressed the opinion that the SCO is an authoritative regional organization. "It is absolutely clear that the SCO as an authoritative regional organization has gained the considerable potential of multi-faceted cooperation," he concluded.

 

Could the SCO come to the Caucasus? The director of the Center for Economic and Social Development, Vugar Bairamov, and the head of a section at the Institute of CIS Countries, Vladimir Yevseyev, answered this question for Vestnik Kavkaza. 

 

"Our assessments show that Azerbaijan's membership in SCO would give the country some economic benefit. According to research, Azerbaijan could increase its economic growth by 1.7% by being in the same organization with Russia, given that Russia and the other CIS countries are the main recipients of Azerbaijan's non-oil sector exports. Only 5% of Azerbaijan's exports are accounted for by the non-oil sector, and its development is possible only if the export capacity of the country expands," Bayramov said

 

According to him, it would be important for Azerbaijan to join the SCO according to a strictly defined scheme. "It would be ideal to enter the SCO on the British model, where Azerbaijan retains independence in making strategic decisions, including in energy, but on other issues, such as the creation of a single market or common customs, it coordinates its activities with the SCO member states," the expert concluded.

 

Vladimir Yevseyev, in his turn, expressed doubt that the conditions necessary for the adoption of the republics of the South Caucasus into the SCO could be created in the near future. "If we talk about the status of dialogue partners, it is quite possible, but it is early to think about membership, because China has no serious interest in the South Caucasus. China has just started to look closely at that region. The question of the expansion of the organization in the direction of the Caucasus has not been resolved. As you remember, Turkey is a dialogue partner for the organization is Turkey, and the Caucasus countries could have achieved this. Not Georgia, but Armenia or Azerbaijan, in the case of something positive in the Nagorno-Karabakh problem, are capable of it," he said.

 

Yevseyev said that Iran's transition from observer country to SCO member-state is problematic. "Apparently, the possibility of receiving the IRI as an SCO member-state depends on a successful resolution of the Iranian nuclear crisis. There is a subtle point: if there are only unilateral sanctions against Russia, there are both unilateral and international sanctions against Iran. Russia and China cannot ignore this. Therefore, Iran's membership in the SCO needs positive dynamics in the closure of the nuclear file - only then will they have a good opportunity to raise the status of Iran to a member of the organization. And it is possible," the expert admitted.

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