Uzbek FM says Iran to become SCO member soon
Uzbekistan's Foreign Ministry announces Iran will join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization this year as an observer state.
Iran will join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization this year, according to Uzbekistan's Foreign Ministry.
"This year, within Uzbekistan's chairmanship, Iran will be admitted to the SCO as an observer state … A memorandum on Iran's obligations as an SCO member will also be signed in Samarkand," Uzbekistan's Acting Foreign Minister, Vladimir Norov, said at a panel meeting in Moscow, Sputnik reported.
Tehran's admission was accepted at the Dushanbe summit last year when Tajikistan was the rotating chair of the Shanghai Pact. However, the process could take two years to complete.
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Last month, Mehdi Safari, Iran's Foreign Minister for Economic Diplomacy, proposed that the bloc adopt a universal currency to facilitate economic integration.
Tehran has also applied to join the BRICS group, three of which are also members of the Shanghai Pact: India, Russia, and China.
Norov also stated that Belarus' application to join the Eurasian political and economic bloc had been received by the SCO and that Minsk's admission procedures could begin at the SCO's September summit in Samarkand.
"To date, the application has been sent to the member countries, and if a joint agreement is reached, I think, it may happen at a summit in Samarkand, which may start Belarus' accession procedure to the SCO," he said.
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Bakhtiyor Khakimov, Russia's special presidential representative on SCO affairs, stated last month at an SCO meeting in Tashkent that Minsk had "made a request to be admitted promptly" to the group, and Norov stated that ten nations had applied to join the SCO, be observers or partners, according to Sputnik.
What is the Shanghai Cooperation Organization?
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is an economic, political, and security alliance founded in 2001 and currently has nine members: China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, and Pakistan. They collectively account for 40% of the world's population and 28% of its GDP (GDP). Afghanistan, Belarus, and Mongolia are among the observer countries.
The SCO summit in Dushanbe last September began the procedure of Iran's accession, as well as granting SCO partner status to Qatar, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.
The SCO's geographical responsibility will expand with Iran's entry and will pave the way for new cross-regional initiatives.
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