Uzbek President, Shavkat Mirziyoyev on September 16 announced plans to expand the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). Speaking at a meeting of the SCO leaders in Samarqand, Uzbekistan, Mirziyoyev said a Memorandum about Iran’s accession to the Organisation is set to be signed. The procedure has been launched to grant a member status to Belarus, he said, adding that Bahrain, Maldives, Kuwait, the UAE and Myanmar are also set to get the status of a partner in dialogue.

Mirziyoyev suggested adopting the SCO strategy till 2040, and working out principles of food security. He also noted that the time has come to address the issues of the SCO anti-terrorist activities.

“There is no doubt that this legendary city (Samarqand) will open another page of the SCO’s success,” he said.

Kazakh President, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, called the Eurasian bloc “the most successful international organisation” in the world. He noted that the SCO is expanding every year, saying “it is convincing evidence of the high demand for the organisation.”

“The SCO member states account for about a quarter of the global gross domestic product, that is, more than $23 trillion. We have at our disposal the richest reserves of energy resources, coal, rare metals and renewable energy sources,” Tokayev said.

The Kazakh President suggested increasing cooperation between the defence departments and special services of the SCO countries to jointly address both the military challenges and issues of combating cyber-crime and other threats.

Kyrgyz President, Sadyr Japarov, put forward an initiative of opening the SCO Centre for Combating Organised Crime in Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek. He also urged the SCO leaders to take “coordinated steps” to help the people of Afghanistan.

Belarusian President, Alexander Lukashenko, called on the SCO leaders to coordinate actions and develop “a collective response to new challenges and threats in the economy.” He called for increasing, within the SCO, payments in national currencies and to hold SCO sports competitions in summer 2024 and winter 2026.

The SCO, an international organisation founded in 2001, has eight member countries – India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan.

It also has four observer countries, including Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia, and six partner countries – Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey and Sri Lanka.

It is expected that, at the Summit, the procedures for Iran’s admission to the organisation as a full member will be completed and Belarus’s full membership application will be accepted.

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