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Increased partnerships within SCO reflect organization's appeal — secretary-general

Zhang Ming noted that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization has transformed from a regional to transregional multifaceted association at this point
SCO Secretary-General Zhang Ming Valery Sharifulin/TASS
SCO Secretary-General Zhang Ming
© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

BEIJING, April 16. /TASS/. The number of dialogue partners in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has nearly doubled over the past three years, which speaks to its overall appeal, SCO Secretary-General Zhang Ming said in an interview with TASS First Deputy Director General Mikhail Gusman.

"Over the past three years the number of SCO dialogue partners alone almost doubled, which demonstrates the attractiveness of the organization, the universal nature of its goals and principles. I would like to note that the SCO’s expansion is not a means to an end for us, but a natural process of its development. Today the 'basket' of applications from interested countries for joining the SCO’s activities in this or that capacity is not empty, though it is too early yet to unveil the names of applicants," he said.

The organization has transformed from a regional to transregional multifaceted association at this point, the official noted. "This is a huge territory of the planet, almost half of the world’s population, about a quarter of the global economy. Considering cooperation with SCO dialogue partners, the space of cooperation of the ‘SCO family’ of participants extends to an even greater distance," he added.

Speaking about economic integration, Zhang Ming said that integration processes in the SCO do not develop in the classic sense, but they are rather focused on aligning the national interests of each member state with interests of developing the SCO region overall. "Here, the SCO has huge economic and investment potential, as a solid contractual basis has been developed, and a relevant cooperation mechanism covering almost all sectors of the economy has been formed and is functioning quite successfully. Two mechanisms, the SCO Business Council and the SCO Interbank Association, contribute to integrating the interests of business and financial circles," he said.

Founded in 2001, the SCO is an intergovernmental organization that currently brings together India, Iran, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. At the most recent SCO summit in New Delhi last June, Belarus signed a memorandum of commitment in order to obtain the status of a member state of the organization. In total, the SCO family, which includes dialogue partners and observers, consists of 26 countries.