Iran becomes full member of Shanghai Cooperation Organization
Regional bloc also notes ‘importance’ of signing the Memorandum of Obligations by Belarus to become another member
ISTANBUL, Türkiye / KARACHI, Pakistan
Iran on Tuesday gained full membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) at the end of the 23rd summit of the SCO Council of Heads of States.
Tehran became the ninth member of the regional bloc.
"The member states stressed the historical significance of the admission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the SCO as a full Member State," said the New Delhi Declaration issued at the end of the summit, released on Tuesday evening.
The SCO members also noted the "importance" of signing the memorandum of obligations by Belarus to "achieve the status of an SCO member state."
In his address to the summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin urged the SCO to grant Belarus full membership.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the host of the summit held virtually, said he was "happy Iran is becoming a member of SCO grouping," adding that the summit would also pave the way for Belarus to become a permanent member of the bloc.
Also, at this year's meeting, Kazakhstan will be taking over as chair of the eight-nation group from India.
Iran joined China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, India and Uzbekistan as full member during Tuesday summit where Belarus, and Mongolia were invited as observer state.
SCO mulls ‘new type international relations’
In the joint statement, the SCO members declared that the bloc pursues a policy that "excludes bloc, ideological and confrontational approaches."
"Taking into account the views of the member states," said the declaration, “the SCO reaffirm the relevance of initiatives to promote cooperation in building of a new type international relations in the spirit of mutual respect, justice, equality and mutually beneficial cooperation, as well as formation of a common vision of the idea of creating a community of the common destiny of humanity.”
While seeking further cooperation in the fields of politics, security, trade, economy, finance and investment, cultural and humanitarian ties, the SCO member states said the bloc “considers it important to build up joint coordinated efforts by the international community to counter the activities of terrorist, separatist and extremist groups, paying special attention to preventing the spread of religious intolerance, aggressive nationalism, ethnic and racial discrimination, xenophobia, ideas of fascism and chauvinism.”
However, the SCO noted “the inadmissibility of interference in the internal affairs of states under the pretext of countering terrorism and extremism, as well as unacceptability of using terrorist, extremist and radical groups for mercenary goals.”
Promising continued efforts to assist the Afghan people in view of the evolving humanitarian situation in the war-torn nation, the SCO members said they consider it “essential to establish an inclusive government” in Afghanistan with the participation of representatives of all ethnic, religious and political groups in Afghan society.
'Enhance solidarity, mutual trust'
Addressing the summit, China's President Xi Jinping on Tuesday called on the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to oppose "building barriers and walls" as well as "de-coupling."
"China is willing to work with other members to stick to the right direction of economic globalization, object protectionism, unilateral sanctions and overstretching the national security concept," Xi said.
Xi said China "will strive to make the cake of mutually beneficial cooperation bigger so as to deliver more benefits to people around the world," the Chinese daily Global Times reported.
Xi also called on the SCO members "to enhance their solidarity and mutual trust."
He emphasized "safeguarding regional peace and ensuring common security," according to a transcript released by the China Daily newspaper.
The Chinese president said the SCO members should "strengthen exchanges and mutual learning" besides "fostering closer people-to-people ties."
Calling for "pragmatic SCO cooperation to speed up economic recovery," Xi suggested "synergizing" the Belt and Road Initiative with "development strategies of various countries."
He added: "The historical trend of peace, development, and win-win cooperation is unstoppable."
The Indian Prime Minister Modi said New Delhi had made sustained efforts, during its term as the SCO chair, to take "our multi-faceted cooperation to new heights."
The food, fuel and fertilizer crisis is a "big challenge" for all the countries in the world "surrounded by controversies, tensions and epidemics," Modi said, adding: "Terrorism may be in any form, in any manifestation, we have to fight together against it."
'Pursuit of domestic political agendas'
Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, in his address, called for joint efforts to curb the "monster" of terrorism, including state terrorism, stressing that Islamabad condemns all "forms and manifestations" of it.
"The Hydra-headed monster of terrorism and extremism – whether committed by individuals, societies or states – must be fought by full vigor and conviction. Any temptation to use it as a cudgel for diplomatic point-scoring must be avoided under all circumstances," he said.
Sharif stressed that religious minorities should not be demonized in the "pursuit of domestic political agendas," a thinly-veiled reference to neighboring India where the nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is often accused of targeting the religious minorities, mainly Muslims, Pakistan's state television reported.
Last year, the SCO leaders' summit was held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.