The first day of the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, timed to mark its 15th anniversary, started in Tashkent today. It will be hosted by Uzbekistan’s President Islam Karimov.
The heads of the SCO member-states, namely Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon will attend the summit. The SCO observer-states will be represented at the summit by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov will also participate in the summit as a guest of the presiding country.
Traditionally, the program of the first day of the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization provides only for an informal dinner. The talks in narrow and extended formats as well as other formal events are planned for Friday, June 24, TASS reports.
The summit is expected to adopt a Tashkent declaration, a plan of actions for 2016-2020 as well as a number of other documents. According to the Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov, the summit is expected to discuss concrete steps to improve the SCO’s activity and develop cooperation in such priority spheres as security, counterterrorism, economic and humanitarian ties.
In addition, the leaders intend to exchange views on key global and regional issues, including the situation in Afghanistan and in the Middle East. Other subjects for discussions include trade and economic cooperation. "The issues of harmonization of the Eurasia’s integration projects, including the Eurasian Economic Union and the economic belt of the Silk Road, will be considered separately," Ushakov added.
The director of the EurAsEC Institute, a member of the Zinoviev Club of ‘Rossiya Segodnya’ news agency, Vladimir Lepekhin, said, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, that the SCO summit in Tashkent is of intereste due to the deepening of cooperation between the two countries, since the SCO is a developing organization. "To date, there are six full members, and India and Pakistan are going through the process of joining the organization. Therefore, I think that at this summit these countries will make another step to become full-fledged members. Accordingly, I think that the number of countries which would like to join the SCO will increase. This is the first thing. Secondly, it is substantial issues related to the agenda of the SCO. This is a territorial association of countries which are interested in preserving their sovereignty within the framework of the multipolar world. That is, the main value of the SCO at the moment is that the SCO is the most authoritative organization, which clearly advocates the formation of a multipolar world," the expert suggested.
"It is especially important since the pressure on the Eurasian Economic Union and Russia is mounting. And all sorts of radical movements, for example, Islamist movements, supported by Western institutions and NATO, are becoming more active in the SCO member states in Central Asia. Therefore, the SCO work, its summits, bilateral relations and agreements with the SCO member states have a very important geopolitical significance," Vladimir Lepekhin stated.
"SCO is a unique international territorial association, because there is no other one that would combine 7-8 or even more civilized cultures. I think that further development of the SCO is the most important factor for the development of a multipolar world and for the survival of humanity," the director of the EurAsEC Institute concluded.