Russia to chair Beijing meet of regional security bloc SCO

Participants, including Russian President Vladimir Putin (6th from right), Chinese President Xi Jinping (7th from left, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (4th from right) at the SCO Council of Heads of State meeting on 12 September 2014 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan [PPIO]

Participants, including Russian President Vladimir Putin (6th from right), Chinese President Xi Jinping (7th from left, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (4th from right) at the SCO Council of Heads of State meeting on 12 September 2014 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan [PPIO]

Russia will chair a meet of the SCO, a China-Russia-led security bloc, that opens in Beijing on Tuesday.

The council of national coordinators of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation will hold a Beijing meet from March 10-13, ahead of this year’s annual summit, said an official statement on Monday.

Both China and Russia have invested heavily in the resource-rich region of Central Asia.

Alexander Yakovenko, Russian envoy to the UK, has said “the SCO Business Council, Interbank Consortium, and Energy Club are at the forefront of expanding practical cooperation among member states”.

China, Russia and four Central Asian nations – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – formed the SCO in 2001 as a regional security bloc to fight threats posed by terrorism and drug trafficking from neighboring Afghanistan.

Cooperation between China and Russia on Afghanistan has been growing since 2013 and could become a major factor for Afghan leadership following a US withdrawal.

As the US and EU step up pressure on Moscow with threats of new rounds of sanctions, Russia is seeking to strengthen ties with allies in the region, predominantly the BRICS and SCO members.

Observer states at the SCO are Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia, and Pakistan. Belarus, Turkey and Sri Lanka have a status of partners in dialogue.

Kremlin spokesperson Yuri Ushakov has indicated last year that India and Pakistan could be granted full-fledged membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization at its next summit in Russia’s Ufa in July 2015.

The next SCO summit will be held in Russia’s city of Ufa on July 9-10, 2015 along with the 7th BRICS Summit.

Russia has taken over presidency of the SCO in September 2014. Moscow has vowed to use its presidency of the SCO to advocate for coordinated steps on the economy, financial sector, energy, and food security.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping said last year that members of the SCO share identical views on economic and political cooperation, including the Ukraine crisis and subsequent sanctions.

“At the meeting in narrow format we discussed some other current international affairs too, including the situation in Ukraine. We are very pleased to see that we share identical or similar views on the main areas of cooperation. This consensus of views is reflected in the Dushanbe Declaration that we are adopting,” said Putin.

 

TBP

 

Leave a comment