SCO Summit Wraps Up in Tashkent; Pakistan A Full Member Now
The 16th summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) came to an end on Friday with Pakistan becoming a full member of the bloc.
According to media reports, Pakistan became a member of the SCO after the country’s National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz signed the Memorandum of Obligations (MoOs) at the two-day summit at Tashkent, Uzbekistan, with the foreign ministers of six member states of the organization and the secretary general of the organization.
The summit kicked off in the Uzbek capital on Thursday. It brought together more than 1,000 guests from the SCO members and observers.
One of the main topics discussed in the summit was Iran’s accession to the SCO, but the organization kept Iran at arm’s length despite a request from Russia which backs Tehran’s bid.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif represented the Islamic Republic at the summit. He arrived in Tashkent early Friday after his latest European tour to France and the Netherlands.
On the sidelines of the summit, Zarif held talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
Zarif and Lavrov met on Friday and discussed several topics, particularly the bilateral ties and the latest developments in the region.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Asia and Pacific Affairs Ebrahim Rahimpour said the Syrian crisis was among the subjects discussed in the talks between the two foreign ministers.
The top Iranian diplomat also held a meeting with the Afghan president, during which the two sides discussed bilateral and multilateral relations, regional issues as well as the expansion of cooperation between the two countries.
The SCO was founded in 2001 and now has seven full members, namely Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan. Iran, Afghanistan, India and Mongolia have observer status.
The intergovernmental organization seeks to strengthen mutual trust and good neighborly ties between the member countries, contribute to regional stability and facilitate cooperation in different sectors, including political, trade, economic and energy issues.