TEHRAN, June 8, YJC - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has arrived in Kazakhstan to take part in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit.
TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -
Zarif arrived in the Astana on Thursday to participate in the two-day SCO summit and the opening ceremony of Astana Expo 2017. Iran’s formal membership of the SCO will also be on the agenda of the summit.
The SCO is a Eurasian political, economic, and military organization founded by China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in 2001 to curb extremism in the region and enhance border security.
It has six observer states, namely Iran, Afghanistan, Belarus, Mongolia, India and Pakistan. India and Pakistan are one step away from becoming SCO members.
On the sidelines of the summit, the top Iranian diplomat met with his Kazakh counterpart Kairat Abdrakhmanov. They discussed bilateral ties and issues of mutual interest, including the regional ones.
On Wednesday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov said Iran’s membership at the SCO would have a positive impact on cooperation between the organization’s member states in the fields of security, economy and humanitarian issues.
"Russia is convinced that the first wave of our organization’s expansion should also include Iran, considering its long-term and fruitful participation in the SCO work as an observer state and also the lack of legal obstacles for launching its membership procedure," Morgulov said.
China said on Monday it supported Iran's membership. Assistant Chinese Foreign Minister Li Huilai said Iran has for a long time "proactively participated" in its activities and has made positive contributions to the SCO's development.
"China highly appraises this. China welcomes and supports Iran's wish to become a formal member of the SCO," he told reporters, ahead of the summit in Astana which President Xi Jinping will attend.
The SCO refused to initiate Iran's accession last year despite a request from Russia.