Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Morgulov

Consolidation, cooperation and security – Russia’s SCO Presidency priorities

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Morgulov

The political consolidation of the SCO, stronger cooperation on the international arena and the development of security, economic and humanitarian cooperation are key priorities of Russia's SCO Presidency, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Morgulov said in an interview with China's Xinhua News Agency.

It is important to start the SCO's expansion, Mr. Morgulov said, adding that decisions on the issue were adopted at the SCO Summit in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, in September 2014. In particular, the SCO Heads of State expressed support for India and Pakistan's intention to become full members of the organisation.

"Considering the experience of cooperation with these states when they had the status of SCO observer states, their admission to the organisation will enhance the practical effectiveness of the SCO and its international prestige," the diplomat said.

He underscored that coordinated approaches to improving the SCO's operation and strengthening mutual understanding and neighbourly relations between all regional countries will be incorporated into the SCO Development Strategy towards 2025. Work is underway on the draft strategy.

Mr. Morgulov added that they were preparing to sign an agreement on border cooperation and interaction between SCO member states. The coordination of this document, which aims to ensure security in the SCO region, is nearing completion. The document is expected to be signed during the Summit in Ufa, Bashkortostan (Russia) in July 2015.

Another priority of Russia's Presidency is the marking of the 70th anniversary of victory over Nazism in World War II. The celebrations will be held in all SCO member states. Their leaders are expected to express their attitude towards this memorable event in a joint statement following the Ufa Summit, Mr. Morgulov said.