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Iran becomes full member of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

July 4, 2023 at 3:33 pm

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with China’s President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) leaders’ summit in Samarkand on September 15, 2022 [ALEXANDR DEMYANCHUK/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images]

Iran, on Tuesday, gained full membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) at the end of the 23rd summit of the SCO Council of Heads of States, Anadolu Agency reports.

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.

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Addressing the summit, China’s President, Xi Jinping, on Tuesday called on the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (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 globalisation, object protectionism, unilateral sanctions and overstretching the national security concept,” Xi said.

The summit began in virtual mode on Tuesday, with Iran expected to become a full member of the bloc at the session.

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.

This year India is hosting the summit via video-conference.

Also, at this year’s meeting, Kazakhstan will be taking over as chair of the eight-nation group from India.

‘Enhance solidarity, mutual trust’

Xi also called on the SCO members “to enhance their solidarity and mutual trust”.

He emphasised “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 “synergising” the Belt and Road Initiative with “development strategies of various countries”.

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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 fertiliser 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 vigour 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 demonised in the “pursuit of domestic political agendas”, a thinly-veiled reference to neighbouring 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.

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