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SCO Heads of Government Council meeting set for November 30 in Russia

The meeting’s agenda includes issues related to the development of trade and economic cooperation and approving the organization’s budget for 2018

MOSCOW, October 9. /TASS/. The next meeting of the Council of Heads of Government from the member-states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is scheduled to be held on November 30-December 1 in Russia, Russian President’s Special Envoy to the SCO Bakhtier Khakimov told TASS.

"Preparations are underway for a meeting of the heads of government from the SCO member-states due on November 30-December 1 in Russia," Khakimov said.

According to the diplomat, the meeting’s agenda includes issues related to the development of trade and economic cooperation taking into account the dominating tendencies in global economy and promoting humanitarian ties in the SCO framework and also approving the organization’s budget for 2018.

Iran’s accession to SCO on organization’s agenda

Iran’s accession to the SCO remains on the agenda, the expansion of the organization is a natural process, Khakimov told TASS.

"The issue is on the agenda, everyone understands that it has to be resolved," he said. Khakimov recalled that one of the principles enshrined in the SCO’s charter is its openness. "The first step to expand the SCO membership has already been made. Naturally, this process will continue. India’s and Pakistan’s accession does not mean that the doors to the organization have been closed," the diplomat added.

Iran, which has had an SCO observer status since 2005 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.

SCO to hail Mongolia’s accession to organization

The SCO would welcome Mongolia’s accession to the organization, but there is no formal request from Ulaanbaatar yet,  Khakimov said. 

"Mongolia is a country among the potential and, I would even say, desirable candidates for SCO membership. It was the first country to receive observer status at the organization back in 2005," he said.

The diplomat noted, however, that Mongolia has not yet formally applied for membership. "We note very stable interest and willingness of Ulaanbatar to develop relations with the SCO," he said.

India’s, Pakistan’s integration into SCO continues

The process of incorporating India and Pakistan into the work of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is underway, some technical issues need to be tackled, according to Khakimov.

"The process of integrating [India and Pakistan into the SCO’s work] has been going on steadily and is on the ascent," he said.

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.

Khakimov noted though 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 diplomat added that some technical issues, such as the use of English in the organization’s work, have not been resolved yet. "Russian and Chinese are the two official languages, and there is no translation service from English yet in the SCO Secretariat. Now there is a need to tackle this issue," he said.

The procedure for India’s and Pakistan’s accession to the SCO was completed at the organization’s summit in Astana in June.

The Declaration on the Establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was inked in China’s Shanghai in June 2001 by six founding states - Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. On June 9, 2017 India and Pakistan became full-fledged members of the SCO.

Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia currently enjoy observer status while Sri Lanka, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia and Nepal are dialogue partners.