ISLAMABAD, June 10. /TASS/. Pakistan is thankful to Russia for confident support of its candidacy for joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and hopes for further close cooperation with Moscow while fulfilling SCO’s aims and tasks in accordance with "the Shanghai spirit," spokesman for Pakistan’s Foreign Office Nafees Zakaria told TASS in an exclusive interview.
"Our application for accession to the Organization was principally approved in Russia, at the SCO summit in Ufa in July 2015," Zakaria reminded. "We are now looking forward to the upcoming SCO summit in Tashkent on June 23-24. It will become an important landmark for Pakistani diplomacy because there it Islamabad is expected to sign the Memorandum on commitments (to join conventions mandatory for all SCO member countries), which, in turn, will give a start to the process of receiving a status of a full-fledged member of the Organization," he added.
"Islamabad assigns great importance to the full-fledged membership in SCO," the diplomat continued. "Due to deeply rooted in history, traditional ties between Pakistan and Organization’s member countries, our position in the region is in full accordance with aims and tasks outlined in the SCO Charter," he noted.
"I would like to add that Pakistan can naturally connect SCO member countries by linking the heart of Eurasia with South Asia. In our understanding, economic ties that are developing in the framework of SCO may facilitate the improvement of the situation in the sphere of regional security, strengthen mutual trust between member countries - both old and new, as well as help to resolve emerging issues in the atmosphere of friendship and harmony," Zakaria continued.
"After certain time, SCO has become an important forum of regional cooperation in the sphere of security and economy, took firm positions on the international arena. We are confident that the upcoming summit will pose even more responsible goals and objectives in front of the Organization," he concluded.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a permanent regional international association, the establishment of which was announced on June 15, 2001, in Shanghai. The organization brings together Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
During the SCO summit in Ufa on July 9 and July 10 the start of the admission procedure for India and Pakistan was announced. The leaders of the SCO member-countries also decided to grant Belarus observer status, while Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia and Nepal became dialogue partners.
SCO priority spheres include joint fight against terrorism and extremism, cooperation in the spheres of education, energy, transport, and telecommunications. The total population of SCO countries is almost 1.6 billion people, and the total GDP of the member countries is $11.6 trillion.